Acts 11:19–26 (ESV)
The Church in Antioch (Part 1)
19 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 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.
today’s reading, we get a glimpse of the effects of Christian persecution that was taking place. If you remember, Saul was present at the stoning of Stephen. Because of the persecution, especially from Saul, Christians fled as far as Phoenicia
and Cyprus and Antioch. It is interesting that God opened up the ministry through Peter, yet there are Greek speaking Gentile believers who were preaching Jesus Christ. God was at work and present. Barnabas went to look for Saul (Paul) and
brought him back to Antioch where they stayed for a whole year. Verse 26 says this is the first time the disciples were called Christians. They were called Christians because they worshiped Christ. The historian Josephus called them “that
tribe of Christians.” Well, the term has stuck and we are still called Christians to this day.
I pray: O Lord, help me to live up to the name of Christian. Help me to always worship
you, and to trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins. Help me to reach out and to share the faith with others. Amen.