Wow. I just saw more evidence that Saul spread the gospel to the end of the earth through his efforts to persecute the church (which I discussed here):
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene,went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. Acts 11: 19-21 NIV
So Paul’s persecution (as Saul) spread the Gospel even beyond Damascus to Cyprus and Antioch! God works in mysterious ways, eh!?
And Gentiles (non Jewish Greek speakers) became Christians in Antioch. Sharing the gospel with the “nations” was no big deal anymore, but part of God’s plan.
I mentioned before, too, how I like this guy Barnabas.
The church leaders in Jerusalem sent him to check out what was happening in Antioch where he appropriately “encouraged” the believers (Acts 4: 36 says Barnabas means “son of encouragement”).
By this time, Saul (he was still called that) had left Jerusalem for his hometown of Tarsus. Which means that the Gospel had probably spread even further north through the converted Saul’s preaching.
So Barnabas went to fetch Saul and they returned to teach the new Antioch believers – now called Christians – for a year.
What an example of mentoring. Barnabas humbly takes the super well educated, well connected, well born Saul under his wing and works alongside him so that together they learn how to lead and encourage a new church.
I like this guy Barnabas. I hope I can become more like him.
Today’s Readings: 2 Chronicles 1:1-2:18, Psalm 79:1-4, Proverbs 20:8-9, Acts 11:1-30. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).