Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
My husband and I just came back from a business trip to Prague. In Prague, they have a Jewish quarter with some of the most beautiful architecture in the city…and Prague is a beautiful city. It reminded me of the events around Acts. Touching the Jewish quarter is a monument that includes the Czech theologian and martyr John (or Jan) Huss. He was burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church in 1415 because of his preaching of Jesus Christ. Sadly, Czechoslovakia is mostly Roman Catholic today in spite of John Huss’ sacrifice. (I encourage you to research John Huss and read for yourself how his teaching and sacrifice brought many souls to Christ. It is an amazing story!) Anyway, because of Stephen’s stoning and other persecution described in chapter 6, Jews were scattered from their beautiful home to escape the hardships from their own people. Some went as far as Antioch which was more than 300 miles away. The persecution was ruthless (try moving 300 miles without a U-haul!). One of the reasons God allowed this persecution was for the spread of the gospel…and what a powerful spread it was!
believers travelled, they preached only to Jews. Social media had not yet announced that Gentiles were able to receive Christ too! Some men from Cyprus and Cyrene came to Antioch and preached Messiah to the Grecian Jews or Hellenists, which was quite progressive of them considering that the Jewish community did not consider Hellenists completely Jewish. The Hand of the Lord was with them (which makes all the difference in the world), and many believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hindsight is always 20/20 when looking back on trials and testings. God uses difficulties in many forms to shape us for His glory. He also uses us even when we don’t know the whole picture. He just wants us to be willing to obey. As with the men from Cyprus and Cyrene, the Hand of the Lord can be with us too as we navigate through our ministry and life. Are you willing to let the Hand of the Lord guide and use you?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
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