GOSPEL MEDITATION # 36
The Church in Antioch
- Find a quiet place without distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- From memory, determine the central points.
- This portion of Acts occurred without the church in Jerusalem knowning anything about Peter and Cornelius.
8, We return now to the events following the death of Stephen. Believers were scattered about and in Antioch, the third most important city in the Roman Empire, the Jewish missionaries preached to Gentiles, a great number of whom were saved.
- News of this reached Jerusalem and the church sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he saw what the Lord had done, he was glad. This is one of the most significant and world changing events in history.
- While Barnabas was there, a great many more were “added to the Lord.” Barnabas, seeing the need for these new followers of Jesus to be discipled, heads north to Tarsus to find Paul and after doing so brings him to Antioch. (Antioch of Syria, is now part of Lebanon.)
- A whole year, Luke tells us, the two spent working with the Gentile believers; they “taught a great many people.”
- It was in Antioch where the followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” and the term essentially means, “belonging to Christ.”
- For unknown reasons, “prophets” came down from Jerusalem to Antioch, and one was named Agabus.
- This introduces something that is not clearly understood in terms of who prophets were and what function they occupied in the church. Here Agabus, who will be encountered in Acts 21:1-14, announces that a famine will come upon the world. History gives us a time period given for the famine, “in the days of Claudius” who ruled Rome from A.D. 41-54. It is thought the time period here would be about A.D. 44.
- Interesting to note that in Acts 21 Paul disregarded the prophesy of Agabus. But the church at Antioch acted on the word from Agabus and sent relief money to Jerusalem, which resulted in Barnabas and Paul traveling to Jerusalem, another significant historical event.