Jul. 7. Jewish Christians Begin to Accept Gentile Converts

Acts 11:1-30

News of the conversion of Cornelius soon reached Jerusalem. When Peter returned, he was confronted with this news that he had eaten with uncircumcised men. The Jewish brethren condemned Peter instead of rejoicing that salvation had come to the Gentiles.

Peter explained the events that had occurred in those days. He related the visions that Cornelius and he had leading up to the baptism of the Gentiles. When the Jews had heard Peter’s report, they glorified God because salvation had been brought to the Gentiles.

The church was continuing to grow in areas great distances from Jerusalem. Those who were scattered after the death of Stephen went to Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch. Saul and others were also preaching in far-off regions.

When news came back to Jerusalem that Gentiles were being converted, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to encourage these new believers. After a short while there, he left and went to Tarsus to bring Saul back to help him.

Barnabas and Saul worked together in Antioch for a year teaching and strengthening the church. “And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” That fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy of a new name. (Is. 62:2)

Agabus, a prophet from Jerusalem came and prophesied that a great famine was soon to occur throughout the entire world. Because of the great poverty in Jerusalem, the church in Antioch (Gentiles) sent relief to them (Jews). This was sent to the elders and carried by Barnabas and Saul.