Antioch

Where is Antioch?

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Antioch
ACTS 11 COMMENTARY
Acts 11:19 Persecution

Acts 11:20-24 Antioch

Acts 11:25 Saul of Tarsus
Acts 11:26 Christian
ACTS 11:20-21  20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.

Where is "Antioch" (Acts 11:20)?
This Antioch was located on the Orontes River about 15 miles (24 kilometers) inland from the Mediterranean Sea in what was Syria back then and what is southern Turkey today. It should be noted that Antioch was a fairly common name for a city in the ancient world, which had over a dozen cities named Antioch. This Antioch was founded in the 4th century BC by Seleucus, one of Alexander the Great's five generals who divided up his kingdom after his death. This Antioch was named after Seleucus' father and is called Antakya today.

Why had Antioch drawn those "preaching the Lord Jesus" (Acts 11:20)?
There were several reasons. For one, Antioch was a large city, the third largest in the Roman Empire after only Rome itself and Alexandria in North Africa. For another, Antioch had a large Jewish population where the Jewish Christians, including those born in "Cyprus and Cyrene" (a city in North Africa), who had scattered from Jerusalem could both resettle among and evangelize "the Hellenists" (Acts 11:20). And Antioch was also a particularly wicked city that was mired in temple prostitution and other pagan abominations related to various Roman, Greek and other idols. Christians were invading Satan's stronghold as Jesus had commanded.

Did the Lord's invasion succeed?
"And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord." (Acts 11:21)

ACTS 11:22-24  22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. 23 When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. 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.

How "far" (Acts 11:22) was Antioch from Jerusalem?
About 300 miles (480 kilometers) directly north.

Why did the church in Jerusalem send Barnabas this time instead of Peter to check up on things?
There are at least three reasons. First, the cultural wall between Jews and gentiles already had been breached, so Barnabas wasn't being sent on a controversial mission that required apostolic leadership. Second, Barnabas was a Greek Jew from "Cyprus" (Acts 4:36) and could interact easily with fellow Greek Jews, including the "men from Cyprus" (Acts 11:20). Third, the leaders in Jerusalem knew Barnabas as "a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith" (Acts 11:24) and the "Son of Encouragement" (Acts 4:36) who will put his gifts to good use, and he "encouraged them" (Acts 11:23).

What did Barnabas see in Antioch that made him "glad" (Acts 11:23)?
Barnabas undoubtedly saw much Christian activity - Christians praying, giving, evangelizing, holding meetings and activities, etc. - but he saw them not as the enabler but the manifestation of the enabling "grace of God" (Acts 11:23), which is what made him "glad."

Did Barnabas advise them to keep up their good work - their events, activities and evangelistic outreach programs?
No, he simply told them to "continue with the Lord" (Acts 11:23). God was at work, and they were to remain true to the Lord, who was manifesting Himself through them and their activities, as He continues to do today through those who remain true to Him and His Word.

To whom were the new Christians added?
"A great many people were added to the Lord" (Acts 11:24). The enabler was "the grace of God" (Acts 11:23). The one they were to continue with was "the Lord" (Acts 11:23). And the one to whom the people were being added was "the Lord" (Acts 11:24). True Christian work is always of, by, for and to the Lord, who can do everything without us, but takes pleasure in choosing, cleansing, and then using us as His instruments.

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