19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- The heart of this passage is about how the good news of salvation reaches beyond the Jewish nation and really begins to overspill to all other ethnicities and people. What is more, these non-Jewish believers are not just a secondary part of the Church, but are an equal part of it with their fellow Jewish believers, able to contribute in a time of crisis (i.e. giving support when others were affected by the predicted famine). This is great news for most (if not all) of us reading this as we are all Gentiles (non-Jews)!
- v24 The description of Barnabas given here is something to be desired. He is described as:
- A good man – someone known for his big heart and righteous conduct
- Full of the Holy Spirit – someone who is led by God
- Full of faith – someone who truly trusts and lives by God’s Word.
- v26 Barnabas and Paul stayed a year in Antioch to help the new believers grow in their understanding of God and how to live to honour Him. It is important to not only bring the good news to people, but also, to support them and teach them how to live as Christians after they have made a commitment to God and not just leave them to try and work it out on their own. The great commission in Matthew 28:19-20 is not just a call to see people converted, but to “make disciples” and “teach them everything [Jesus] have commanded [us]”.
- v26 It was at Antioch that the believer were first called ‘Christians’. This may have originally been used as a derogatory term by those outside the Church, however it is a term that is beautiful because it so captures the meaning of who we are – people defined by our devotion to Jesus Christ so much so that that we are identified by His name.
- v29 The believers in Antioch helped according to their ability. We each have individual gifts to serve with and God doesn’t call us to do more than He has enabled us to. Instead, He wants us to use our gifts (Matthew 25:14-30). We are not in a competition with other believers, but are part of the same Church working together to strengthen one another (1 Corinthians 12).
submitted by Matt Seiboth
PRAYING IN FAITH
Pray that you will be more like Barnabas, known to be good, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.
For your five
Pray that your 5 will have friends like Barnabas and Saul who will help them to understand more about the Bible and God.
For our church
Pray that our Church will be united as one and that we will use our gifts to serve one another on a local and global scale.