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Peter’s Report to the Church at Jerusalem


Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, 3saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” 4Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. 6As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ 10This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. 11At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. 12The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; 14he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. 16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” 18When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”


The Church in Antioch

19 Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they spoke the word to no one except Jews. 20But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. 21The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. 22News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; 24for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. 25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.”

27 At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. 29The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea; 30this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

23. When he had seen the grace of God. By these words Luke teacheth, first, that the gospel which they had received was true; secondly, that Barnabas sought nothing else but the glory of Christ. For, when he saith that he saw the grace of God, and that he exhorted them to go forward, hereby we gather that they were well taught. And the joy is a testimony of sincere godliness. Ambition is evermore envious and malicious; so that we see many seek for praise by reproving other men, because they are more desirous of their own glory than of the glory of Christ. But the faithful servants of Christ must rejoice (as did Barnabas) when they see the gospel increase, by whomsoever God shall make his name known. And assuredly those which help one another, so that they acknowledge that all the effect which springeth thence is the work of God, will never envy one another, neither will they seek to carp [at] one another, but will, with one mouth and mind, praise the power of God.

Again, this is worth the noting, that Luke doth attribute the faith of the men of Antioch, and whatsoever was worthy [of] praise there, to the grace of God. He might have reckoned up all those virtues which might make for the commendation of men; but he comprehendeth what excellence soever was in that Church under this word grace. Lastly, we must note Barnabas’ exhortation. We have already said that Barnabas did subscribe to the former doctrine which they had embraced; but lest doctrine fall away, it is most requisite that it be thoroughly imprinted in the minds of the faithful by continual exhortations. For seeing that we have to encounter continually with so many and such strong adversaries, and our minds are so slippery, unless every man arm himself diligently, it will by and by fall away, which thing infinite numbers do show to be true by their falling away. Whereas he setteth down this manner of perseverance, that they continue with purpose of heart we are hereby taught that faith hath taken deep root then when it hath a place in the heart. Wherefore it is no marvel, if scarce one of ten of those who profess faith do stand unto the end, seeing that very few know what the affection and purpose of heart meaneth.

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