29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.
25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.
Remember when we last heard about Barnabas and Saul? They were coming from Antioch (where there were prophets) to bring money to Jerusalem. The money was to help cover a coming famine that would leave the Jerusalem church struggling.
Then the scene cuts to the problems of James being killed and Peter getting thrown in jail. This was the church that Barnabas and Saul were going to visit! Talk about bad timing!
One of the best methods of Bible study is to think through all of these events happening in a real-life context with one another:
- The Jerusalem church is discouraged. One of the original disciples is killed and the leader is in jail awaiting persecution.
- Two visitors come from Antioch, a church bursting into life, made up of Jews and Gentiles together.
- The visitors bring a ton of money to provide for the discouraged church.
- They brought the money at the call of the Holy Spirit through a prophet. A prophet! The Holy Spirit isn’t just living in Gentile believers, but He is turning them into prophets!
- As Peter is miraculously released from jail, boy does the crew from Antioch have a story to tell.
And now at the end of Acts 12, we have Barnabas, Saul, and John-Mark going back to Antioch. They are full of confidence that God will not only provide for all of their needs (in the money they took to Jerusalem) but that God can also give them the power to walk freely out of any prison.
This is a lesson that they are going to put into practice over and over again in the coming years.
As God works in our lives, part of God’s plan to build His kingdom is that we would share those works. The more we share in what God is doing, the more we build up one another’s faith. As I hear your stories of God’s faithfulness, my faith grows. As I re-tell your stories, the listeners increase in their faith too.
This goes on, so on and so forth, until generation after generation hears of God’s faithfulness.
And if you don’t have any stories to tell yet, pray and listen. God is at work.