#11: The Church in Antioch

Acts 11:19-24

Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

Things are getting out of control. In the early chapters of Acts the experience of knowing, believing in and following Jesus is contained within the city of Jerusalem and is known just to the Jews. But the experience is so big, rich and life transforming, that it cannot be bottled up in one place. The message of Jesus and the experience of the Holy Spirit keeps spreading and popping up all over the place. Here it reaches the city of Antioch and to people from all over the empire, ‘And a great many people were brought to the Lord’.

What would it feel like if your own experience of Jesus bubbled up and was so alive, rich and overflowing that it reached out to others?

Lord Jesus,
Fill me with your empowering Spirit.
Lead me on your endless journey,
Speak to me your enduring message,
And make me fully alive,
With your gift of eternal life.