Tuesday 17 May 2011

Bible Book:

"and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called 'Christians'" (v. 26)

Acts 11:19-26 Tuesday 17 May 2011


In this passage we hear of the dispersed community, those whohave scattered in the face of persecution following the death ofStephen, executed by stoning for breaking the Jewish blasphemy laws(Acts 6:8 - 7:60). As they travelled they spreadthe gospel (good news) and the believing community grew to such anextent that the Apostles who remained in Jerusalem as the Churchscattered, sent Barnabas as a go-between, a vital link betweenJerusalem and the new sister church developing in Antioch and whonow came to identify themselves as Christians. Barnabas becomes theagent by which Saul is reintroduced to the story. Saul had changedfrom being a zealous persecutor of Christians (Acts7:54 - 8:3). He had experienced the call of God upon his lifeand was beginning to being brought into the story quietly as ateacher alongside Barnabas helping to teach and form the newcommunity of believers (Acts9:1-30).

The fact that this community now described themselves as Christianmay or may not be significant. But here is a group that holdsclearly within its membership those who are outside the Jewishtradition as well as those within, and who now have given verbalexpression to their gathering as disciples of Christ.

To Ponder

Recall your own journey of faith and how youfirst claimed the word Christian as your own. Ponder on what haschanged, what has stayed the same and how the word has expressionin your life now.

How is it possible that someone so zealous intheir persecution of those who are 'different' or who are on theother side of a religious divide to the point of being instrumentalin their deaths might have such a sudden change of heart?

In today's society how are we to believe thatthose who commit terrible deeds in the name of their god candemonstrate genuine repentance?

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