The Gospel is going forth and the believers are having their comfortable understanding pulled and stretched. First Samaritans and now they are hearing of Peter hanging out with the Gentiles. When he comes to Jerusalem he is quickly challenged for his “un-Jewish/disciple behavior”. But Peter tells the story and it is apparent that the Holy Spirit is going wherever He chooses and they best go with the flow. To their credit they dropped their objections and gave glory to God for the repentance granted to the Gentiles.
Meanwhile the Gospel is spreading like an uncontrollable wildfire. Believers have been scattered all the way to Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch. So we are talking the northern coast of Syria and just reaching Turkey. They are being careful to only share the faith with Jews but some who have come to believe don’t understand these cautions and just start blabbing to anyone 🙂 . So now you’ve got Greeks coming to believe.
Back at headquarters in Jerusalem they are still trying to get their heads around this outbreak of Gentile believing. They send Barnabus to check it all out. (I think they are just trying to be sure it’s the real thing and not some copycat.) Barnabus had good eyes because he was full of the Holy Spirit and faith. What he saw was the grace of God at work and he encouraged them to remain true to the Lord. (I want to know the grace of God when I see it!)
I think too, he saw an opportunity for these new followers to need some solid teaching because lots of them had no background in the Jewish faith. Who better to help but that zealot Saul? Barnabus goes and gets him from Tarsus and they stay in Antioch together for a whole year. This becomes a classroom for new believers and teacher training ground for Saul.
Then one day a prophet comes and speaking through the Spirit he foretells of the coming famine in Jerusalem. The quick and positive response to send aid to their fellow believers back in Judea is a testimony to the love and maturity of the church here. (I love it when the church rallies around other believers in need – for no reason except they are other believers in need – they don’t know these people but they share the bond of brothers. “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love…”)
His plan is to be sure everybody knows the way.
I want to be sensitive enough recognize the grace of God and be quick to get on board.
About the World?
We are to tell the world, one person at a time.