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Acts 11 English Standard Version (ESV)
Peter Reports to the Church
1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, 3 “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them in order: ……
15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
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.
- Peter defends his ministry to Cornelius to the church at Jerusalem. He convinces them of God’s work in the gentiles as they were given the gift of the Holy Spirit. They demonstrated it by speaking in tongues. As the gentiles had been given the same gift that was given the Jewish believers, they had obviously been accepted by God. So, “who was Ithat I could stand in God’s way” (v17)?
- When a predominantly gentile church was established, Barnabas was sent from Jerusalem to find out what was happening. He may have been one of the few Jewish Christian leaders sensitive enough to sense what God was about, and able to resist the temptation to impose a Jewish lifestyle on these gentile converts. He was also the one who encouraged the church leaders in Jerusalem to accept Paul (9:27) and began an itinerary ministry with Paul.
- Who in your life has impacted you most deeply? Who was like Barnabas that has believed in you, supported you when you needed it? Who, as Barnabas did, “urged (you) to remain faithful to the Lord, to maintain an enduring, unshakable devotion” (v23)?
- How can you imitate Barnabas as an encourager of others, seeing their potential, and spurring them on in proclaiming the good news of Jesus?