19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
In these couple of verses we see the expedited result of what transpired from the time Peter visited Cornelius’ home in Acts 10 to the existence of multiple Gentile churches in various provinces in Acts 11. In the preceding verses (Acts 11: 1-18) we do not only read the acceptance of Gentile inclusion from the believing Jews in Jerusalem. But we also witness multiple of Gentiles coming to faith in Antioch. So much, that the very same believing Jews who were initially opposed to Peter visiting Cornelius (see yesterday’s devotion), commissioned Barnabas to ‘pastor’ the church in Antioch. However, in verse 24 we read the church grew large in number and it became too much for Barnabas, who in turn went to find Paul to aid him in his commission to ‘pastor’ the church in Antioch (Con).
Thoughts for the day
- God’s timing is perfect. He is always on time. Which area in your life do you need to be reminded of this ?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
- Who can you encourage with this story/message?
Pray for those who are in prison.