Sunday 19th May.

Why, you may ask, is persecution allowed? What is the reason that we seek opposition? God is sovereign, and he could end this age at any time. His enemies rage across the earth, spinning narratives, and then facing a reality not shown in their polls. A couple of reasons. Firstly, it makes people choose: either Christ or the world. And secondly, it causes the comfortable church to spread, witness, and grow — including outside the groups and languages where they are comfortable.

Photo by Robin Spielmann on Unsplash

19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen travelled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. 20 But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists[a] also, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 25 So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

Acts 11:19-26, ESV
Ikon of Barnabas

I like Barnabas. He’s always backing up those who are moving forward to witness for Christ. He does not have an ego: knowing that he needed help, he went to Tarsus and got Saul (Paul). Antioch was not a one person ministry team. There was self correction within the eldership. And God did bless those who remained faithful to his word. For there was growth and glory in the church.