The church at Antioch was faced with a controversy that threatened the existence of the church of Jesus. The church at Jerusalem was appealed to for resolution of an issue that defined what it meant to become a follower of Jesus and that which is the true sign of being in covenant with God.
Paul and Barnabas are sent by their mother church, the church of Antioch in Syria, on a missionary journey to proclaim the message to all who would listen. Although some Jews listened, many opposed the message of Jesus and even sought the death of Paul and Barnabas for teaching it! But many Gentiles heard the Word gladly and became converted. In spite of deadly opposition from the Jews, the apostles persevered to the end of their journey.