Daily Devotional - 04/12/2019

The Kingdom You Can't Stop

The Hand of the Lord Was with Them

April 12, 2019

ReadingActs 11:19-21

Luke takes us back to the persecution that started with Stephen (Acts 8:1) and traces the work of some other teachers.  “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”(Acts 11:19).  They go beyond the borders of Palestine and Samaria, but they restrict their preaching to Jews.  This is not a matter of forbidding certain people, but of frequenting places (like synagogues and Jewish neighborhoods) that would have Jewish populations.

Yet not everyone shares this exclusive focus on Jews.  “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”(Acts 11:20).  These preachers include the “Hellenists,” which here means Greeks.  They are doing similar work to what Peter has done in the house of Cornelius.  “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord”(Acts 11:21).  The success of their preaching efforts is attributed to “the hand of the Lord.”  The fact that so many Gentiles obey the gospel is a sign of the blessing of God.  Whenever people become Christians, it is Jesus—not the preacher or the convert—who gets the glory.

What impresses me is that these Jewish Christians bravely cross ethnic and cultural lines to share Jesus with foreign people.  It is a risk.  Yet Jesus works with them and rewards their faith in him.  When we work for Jesus, we never work alone.

One Thing to Think About:  What leaps of faith have I taken, trusting that Jesus will work with me?
One Thing to Pray For:  God’s blessing on the works I do for him

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