Friday, April 13, 2012

Acts 11:19-22

Summary retelling of Acts 11:19-22

Here we pick up the story of the rest of the church besides Peter and Saul.  The rest of the church was persecuted as far away as Antioch and Cyprus.  But most were only talking to the Hebrew speaking Jews about Jesus.  There were a very few in number who were also talking to the Greek-speaking Jews (Hellenists).  God was with them, and many Jews (Hebrew and Greek speaking) were turning to Jesus Christ.  In Jerusalem, the leaders of the followers of Jesus Christ hear about what is happening and they send Barnabas to Antioch to investigate.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
I find it interesting that one of the first facts we hear about the rest of the church was that they were focused on preaching to predominantly Hebrew speaking Jews.  What makes this interesting is that this story comes on the heels of Peter’s experience with Cornelius.  God is making it clear that he wants His followers to think outside the box and tell everyone about Him.  The message is slow to get out, however.  People want to do what they are comfortable doing.  For the people who had been good Jews all their life, being a good Jew is still important to them in spite of what God seems to be saying about needing to get more “aggressive” about their proclamation.

Are you someone who can talk to anyone about God?  If so, great!  If not, do you think that is a worthwhile goal?

Second Thought:
In spite of the timidity (or traditionalism) of the dispersing church, God was still with them.  God was still blessing their number.  God was still bringing people into their midst.  God does not abandon us, even if we are timid to embracing His calling.

How have you seen God be with you and bless your efforts and the efforts of the things with which you have been involved?

Third Thought:
Barnabas is sent to investigate.  Remember that Barnabas was not one of the original disciples/apostles, but he is a wise and generous man.  He is a man who is leading by example.  Barnabas has worked his way into the leadership in Jerusalem by demonstrating his loyalty, faithfulness, and sincerity towards God.

Do you think it was a quick or long process for Barnabas to get into this kind of a position?  What did Barnabas need internally to slowly work his way into having this kind of leadership thrust upon him?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 11:23-26
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