Antioch, Reporting for Duty
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, every one 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.
Sometimes the best way to study the Bible is to zoom out a little bit and look at everything in context. Jerusalem hears about missionaries from Cyprus starting a revival among Gentile believers in Antioch. Peter wonders if it is legit and sends Barnabas to check it out.
Barnabas is a Cypriot (a guy from Cyprus) who was also a Levite. He is full of the Holy Spirit and is nicknamed the “Son of Encouragement” by the disciples in Jerusalem.
He left for over a year and stayed in Antioch preaching and teaching with Saul! Maybe Peter heard about this, but maybe he didn’t.
Sacrificially giving money to care for others was core to Barnabas’ life in Christ. That was the first thing he was mentioned for earlier in Acts, and here he is being entrusted with money from Antioch to Jerusalem. Not only that, but it was money given as a result of a prophecy.
So imagine that conversation.
Peter sees Barnabas return to Jerusalem with Saul again! How have you guys been? How did it go in Antioch?!
And then Barnabas lays down a big huge bag of money.
This is a donation from the Church in Antioch, where they call us mini-christs (that’s what ‘Christian’ meant, literally). Prophets there have foreseen a famine here in Jerusalem and this money was collected so that y’all wouldn’t starve to death.
So yeah, Peter. Antioch is doing well with its future-seeing prophets and its sacrificial benefactors. The Holy Spirit is alive and active in His people.
But you ain’t seen nuthin yet.
Antioch would go on to be THE launchpad for Christianity. It’s humbling to see it started with prayer, preaching, prophecy, and care for other Christians in need.
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