18 May 2011Acts 12:24 - 13:5
"the word of God continued to advance and gain adherrents" (v. 24)
Following the death of Stephen, one of the Apostles, the rest of
the Christian community scattered (Acts 7:54 - 8:3). In doing so, they took with
them the gospel (good news) which then found its way through the
highways and byways into everyday life wherever they settled.
Today's passage offers a sharp contrast between the background of those death and persecution stories and the growth and success of the word of God within cultures outside the Jewish tradition. More to the point, the growth and success is as a result of the community's attentiveness to worshipping and fasting. The community then finds itself being called once again by the Spirit of God to the work of becoming a missionary church as it sets apart Barnabas and Saul and sends them out with their blessing to Cyprus. The gospel is now spreading apace and the reader is left in a state of breathless anticipation as to what will happen next. How many more will be added to their number? Where will the Spirit of God lead the people of God next and perhaps more poignantly given Saul's past, who will be set aside next?
If the Lord added daily to the number of your own fellowship, what would the result be? How might the resources be found to nurture, to teach and to support those who found a home with you?
What is the Spirit of God saying to you as you ponder this passage, in relation to your own attentiveness to worship, to prayer, to fasting and to the call of God upon your life?