Acts 11:1-12:24, Psalm 31


There are two important truths found in Acts 11:25-26. First, we see Barnabas went to Antioch to look for Saul. I emphasize the fact it is Saul that Barnabas seeks and not Paul. What is my point, for aren't they just different names for the same man? Certainly, it is the same man. However, it is commonly taught that Saul changed his name to Paul upon conversion, but that is just not the case. Rather, Saul is the name this man would use when doing ministry with the Jewish people, but Paul would be the name used when reaching Gentiles. Paul is not a name given to Saul upon conversion, but rather a name he had always had, that he chose to use to make himself more accessible to the non-Jewish peoples he would serve. Secondly, we note that the disciples were first called “Christians” in Antioch, for they were formerly called followers of “The Way.” As some have suggested, this suggests that non-believers in Antioch began to differentiate believers from its Jewish roots and didn't see it as simply a Jewish sect, but an altogether new religion because of its emphasis on Jesus as the Christ (or Messiah). We see the missionary work of the Holy SPirit in both of these details. Paul realizes by using a name more familiar to Gentiles he will be more effective. The designation of Christians as their own unique group reveals the Spirit is on the move in powerful ways. To this we pray, God fill your church with people that have sensitivity to ministry like Paul and give us fruit like the church in Antioch, Amen.