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  The Great Bible Story #123
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The confusion about non Jews

Jacob Ninan
When the apostles and others in Jerusalem heard that non Jews had received the gospel, they questioned Peter about it. They asked him how he could have mixed with non Jews and eaten with them, because as Jews who considered themselves as people of God on an exclusive basis they had reservations about everyone else. Then Peter explained the whole story of how he had seen a vision from God where He had asked him to eat even the animals which were considered unclean, saying that what He had declared clean should not be considered unclean any more. He also told them about how, when he was speaking to Cornelius about the gospel, the Holy Spirit fell upon the non Jews just as He had earlier on the Jewish believers. He argued, therefore, that he could not go against what God was obviously doing. Then it dawned on everyone present there that God was widening the scope of salvation beyond the Jews to everyone who believed. They praised God saying that repentance and salvation through grace were now open to everyone.

During the time of the persecution that started at the time of the martyrdom of Stephen, some believers had moved away from Jerusalem to other places. Some of them reached the city of Antioch and shared the gospel of Jesus with the Jews there. But some of them also spoke to the Greeks there about Jesus. Many people responded by putting their trust in Jesus for salvation from sin. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard about it, they sent Barnabas to Antioch to see what was happening. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit, and when he saw what God was doing with the believers in Antioch, he encouraged them to continue to be faithful to the Lord. He went from there to Tarsus looking for Saul. (Barnabas had met Saul just after his conversion, and brought him to the apostles at that time. When there was confusion among many Jews because Saul was proclaiming Jesus, the apostles thought it would be safer for him to be away for some time.) After Barnabas and Saul came to Antioch they stayed there for a year teaching the people about the things of God. It was here that the disciples of Jesus first began to be called Christians.

A prophet called Agabus came to Antioch from Jerusalem and declared that there was going to be a worldwide famine. Then those of the disciples in Antioch who were well off collected some money together for the brothers in Judea and sent it through Barnabas and Saul.


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Comfort & Counsel