June 13, 2022 – Monday
Acts 11:22-23 NIV
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
What news? That’s the first thing that comes to mind when reading the verses above. The answer is in the preceding three verses, 19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
Clearly persecution became the norm after Stephen was killed and Jewish Christians spread throughout Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch spreading the good news of Jesus, but only among other Jews. That was not sufficient for some, and they chose to go to Antioch with the purpose of telling the Greeks also of the good news about the Lord Jesus. It was not just their going, but The Lord’s hand [favor] was with them, and as a result a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
It wasn’t the news of Stephen death that reached the church in Jerusalem, but the news of a great number of Greeks who had come to believe and turned to the Lord. That was news, big NEWS, so they sent Barnabas to Antioch to investigate and check out what had been reported. They could not have chosen a better person to go as Barnabas’ name means ‘son of encouragement’ and that is what he did, he encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
But we are told, When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, not what some missionaries or preachers had done, but what the grace of God had done. This was major news as well as Antioch, the capital of Syria, about 300 miles north of Jerusalem was known to be a wicked city, much like Corinth. They honored all sorts of Greek, Roman, and Syrians gods. In such a place what Barnabas saw was what the grace of God had done. Here we may look at the word for grace, Hebrew xáris that HELPS-Word Studies tell us, it is preeminently used of the Lord’s favor – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is “always leaning toward them. Then in verse 24, we read this about Barnabas, 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. God use him to further grow the church in Antioch.
Bottom Line: Growth happens when God’s grace or favor is there, not because of a particular individual, but because of His favor.
Prayer: Almighty God, Please help us to discern men of great faith full of the Holy Spirit and let the Holy Spirit that indwells with us help us to grow in faith daily seeking Your will. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton