Acts 11:19–30 (ESV)
The Church in Antioch
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.
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.
Though persecution scatters the believers, the Lord uses
the persecution to proclaim the Gospel even more broadly. As believers grow in faith, they commit themselves to acts of service. Men of God, such as Barnabas, not only confirm the work of the Holy Spirit among believers but also ensure that new believers are
nurtured in the faith through instruction (Mt 28:19–20).
I pray: “Awake, Thou Spirit, who didst fire The watchmen of the Church’s youth, Who faced the
Foe’s envenomed ire, Who witnessed day and night Thy truth, Whose voices loud are ringing still And bringing hosts to know Thy will.” Amen. (TLH 494:1)
Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1858.