Text: Acts 11
Theme: Good news has a (supernatural) way of spreading.
Key verses: “Soon the news reached the apostles and other believers in Judea that the Gentiles had received the word of God. But when Peter arrived back in Jerusalem, the Jewish believers criticized him. ‘You entered the home of Gentiles and even ate with them!’ they said. Then Peter told them exactly what had happened. ‘I was in the town of Joppa,’ he said, ‘and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision…” (v. 1-5a). ‘As I began to speak,’ Peter continued, ‘the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as he fell on us at the beginning. Then I thought of the Lord’s words when he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to stand in God’s way?’ When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, ‘We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.’ Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephen’s death traveled as far as…Antioch of Syria. They preached the word of God, but only to the Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch…began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord” (v. 15-23). “Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)
What God said to me: Keep reading and rereading through this. There’s more here than you are yet seeing. Take note of how the news spread and why and what they did to help it spread. Look behind what is written. Look for what they didn’t do and yet it spread regardless. Look for the me-factor. It’s there. It’s always there. Notice the Holy Spirit was behind the scenes working the whole time: I gave Peter the vision, sent the angel to Cornelius, spoke to him to go with strangers, fell on those strangers to save them, and filled Barnabas so he was sensitive to my grace at work in the Gentiles at Antioch. I initiated everything about this as I worked behind those scenes through the power of my Spirit. Live in that world, Dwayne. Be where I am at work; be aware and sensitive to my presence and involvement in situations. Be grateful I am working in ways human eyes can’t see. I am always working.
What I said to God: Thank You, Lord. I will continue to meditate on this passage for another day or so. Please open my spiritual to see what You want me to understand and notice. Meanwhile, please fill me with Your Holy Spirit today, and help me share Your Good News with someone who is lost or hurting today.