Monday 11 June 2012

Bible Book:

"The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea." (v. 29)

Acts 11:19-30 Monday 11 June 2012


This passage appears immediately after Peter recalls his visionto explain why he had eaten in a non-Jewish household (Acts11:1-18). It ends with the phrase "God has given even to theGentiles the repentance that leads to life" (v. 18). What thenfollows is the beginning of the spread of the gospel (the good newsabout Jesus) beyond the boundaries of the Jewish community, to thenon-Jews - the Gentiles.

In Acts 8 after Stephen had been killed, thebelievers scattered for safety (Acts 8:1). Chapter 11 now picks upthe story of what happened to those who went to Antioch where theybegan preaching not just to the Jews but to the Greeks as well. Thenews of these non-Jewish conversions reached the church inJerusalem and so they sent Barnabus to Antioch. What he sees isevidence of "the grace of God" (v. 23) in the new believers and herejoices in that. He recognises that these converts need teachingand encouraging in the faith. Barnabus goes to Tarsus to bring Saul(Paul) back to Antioch. It is believed that Paul had been living inTarsus for seven or eight years having gone there for his safetyafter receiving death threats (Acts9:29). Barnabus recognised the gifts and skills that Paulpossessed and knew him to be a good preacher. He would also havebeen aware of Paul's call to preach to the Gentiles (Acts9:15). Paul's arrival in Antioch to share in the ministry tothe Gentiles, brings about an important development in the historyof the Church.

It is at Antioch that the name "Christian" (v. 26) is first givento the believers. This would imply that their teaching was veryChrist-focused, with an emphasis on Jesus being the Messiah (theChrist), the fulfilment of prophecy.

Spirited-inspired prophecy was important in the ministry of theEarly Church and in verse 28 we read of a prophecy from Agabus thata famine would strike. The believers at Antioch thought of how theycould help their fellow believers in Judea. There was a strongsense of community and sharing amongst all the believers regardlessof where they were geographically. They were united by their faithin Christ Jesus.

To Ponder

Barnabus recognised the gifts of Paul andinvolved him in an important aspect of the Church's ministry. Weneed people like Barnabus in the Church; those who recognise thegifts and skills in others and encourage them in appropriate ways.How good are you at recognising the gifts and skills in others andhow they could serve? Who do you need to encourage in yourchurch?

Do we still have a strong sense of community andsharing across all Christians today, as they did in the EarlyChurch? Why, or why not?

Previous Page Sunday 10 June 2012
Next Page Tuesday 12 June 2012