Luke changes course again. During all that was happening with Peter and the Church in Jerusalem, Luke then sets the stage for the rise of the Church in Antioch, and the spread of Christianity across the globe. Luke tells of the spread of the gospel to Antioch where several Jerusalem’s believers fled during the persecution by Saul of those in Jerusalem. There the believers ministered to the Greek speaking Jews, called the Hellenists.
News traveled back to Jerusalem and the Apostles sent Barnabus to Antioch to check things out. This was the second introduction of Barnabus, who was first named as a benefactor in Acts four and later discussed as a proponent to Paul the now converted persecutor of the church. Barnabus was clearly a man that Loved God and gave his life to the spreading of the Gospel. In this account, Barnabus tracks Paul down in Tarsus. The two of them return to Antioch and spend a year ministering and collecting funds for the Church to feed the hungry during the famine in Claudius’s reign.
God was preparing for the worldwide spread of the Church. Many were used to do the work. The same holds true today. God is constantly at work in the lives of those who are willing to remain available. Henry Blackaby in his book experiencing God said, “Rather than telling God what He needs to do in ministry, as believers, we need to simply go where He is working and join in that work.”
That is what Barnabus did in Cypress and Antioch. We too can be used by God to do extraordinary things if we will simply trust the Lord and allow Him to lead us into our ministry.
God Bless you
Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled 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[c] 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, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers[d] living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.