May 13, 2018
READ: Acts 11:19-26
Some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them (vv.20-21).
I enjoy looking around my local London church on a Sunday morning, taking in the array of faces. Along with British people, I see those from Nigeria, Uganda, Romania, Macedonia, Brazil and many other places. I’m reminded of the vision John saw of a “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). In a small way, my multiethnic church reflects that picture—reminding me that, although believers have differences, we belong together.
Luke, in the book of Acts, describes how the church at Antioch was founded—through believers scattered due to persecution (Acts 11:19-21). Antioch, the third largest city in the Roman Empire, was a key place to share the gospel. As a place of trade, it attracted people from many nations.
And it would become a multiethnic centre of Christianity, the place believers were first called Christians (11:26, 13:1). When Barnabas experienced the “evidence of God’s blessing” in this diverse new church, he “encouraged the believers to stay true” to Christ (11:23). Then he and Saul (Paul) joined the church’s work by teaching there for a year (v.26).
We can find encouragement in the fact that ordinary believers in Jesus from different nations began this important church, simply by sharing the gospel (vv.20-23). We might not all have the opportunity to worship among people from many nations, but we can—wherever we are—witness to the gospel and the beauty of God’s kingdom. We can intercede for believers around the world in the unique ways they share the good news (v.20). And we can pray for multiethnic churches, that they would be a compelling picture of God’s unity, hope and the truth of His freeing message.
—Amy Boucher Pye
365-day plan: Psalm 8:1-9
Read Matt. 28:16-20 and reflect on believers’ calling to make disciples of “all nations”.
Ask God for the humility to discern your own prejudices and how to combat them. How does being part of the church universal inspire you?