Scripture: Acts chapter 11
Commentary: We see in this chapter the intense hatred of the Jews toward the Christians and their complete rejection of the Gospel, forcing its teachings upon the Gentiles. The Gentiles open the door to receive the Holy Ghost and all the benefits of Salvation. The chapter can be summarized in three words broadly: 1. Persecution; 2. Prayer; and 3. Progress.
There was a group of people who contended with Peter over works-based Salvation problems, “those of the circumcision.” Another thing to note… The Church becomes satisfied at the preaching to the Gentiles (which could be a problem), as we see in 11:18, “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”
Missionary work begins full scale, and they, which were scattered abroad in Phenice, Cyprus, and Antioch; they preached to the Jews only. Revival also comes to Antioch of Syria. Barnabas is the first missionary that is sent out from the Church.
This was a chapter of firsts:
- Believers in Antioch are called Christians
- Barnabas is the first missionary to be sent
- The first team of missionaries was Paul and Barnabas
- The first church prophet (Christian prophet) was Agabus (and there were others soon)
- The first prophecy in verse 28b, “…there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.”
- Relief of the poor saints in Jerusalem
Barnabas went to Tarsus seeking Saul, so that they could go together to Antioch, as we see in 11:25-26. They wanted to deliver relief to the brethren who dwelt in Judaea. Just when people thought that the Church was on a decline, many firsts had occurred, which showed that God was not done making miracles, and that He wanted to continue demonstrating His Glory.