Today’s reading: Acts 11
Today we read the final part of the narrative of how Peter came to know the Gospel was to be preached to the gentiles and an account of the early Church in Antioch. These stories are valuable in their own right but if you read closely you will see that we are given small bits of information are curious as to why they are included here and as to the manner by which they are included.
First, we are told that when Peter reports the happenings regarding the Cornelius to the Church we are told that “the circumcision party criticized him”. Here we learn that there is a group within the Church that is focused on a particular issue, that of circumcision. We will learn later that it is particularly the issue of whether gentile converts must first be circumcised that they are concerned about. We should inquire why the Holy Spirit inspired the author of Acts to include this information here.
Second, we are given a report of the progress of the Church in Antioch. It’s not surprising that in a book detailing the early history of the Church we are told of one of the first places where the church grew especially when that city is the place where the people of the Church “were first called Christians”. However, notice we are also told that Barnabas went there and fetched Saul (Paul) and brought him back to Antioch, thus establishing their presence there. We are told that they remained there for a “whole year”. In the coming chapters we will see that these two facts revealed here where not inserted by happenstance.
Tomorrow: Acts 12