Old Habits Die Hard
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.
- Acts 11:19
Old habits die hard.
As the followers of Jesus moved out into the world fleeing the persecution in Jerusalem, they continued spreading the good news about Jesus to people they met along the way. Their hearers responded with joy and became followers of Jesus. Churches started springing up all around Judea and the surrounding regions.
But these churches carried a pattern with them. Jews spread the word to Jews. They spent time with and talked to people who were like them. Their moving sidewalks kept them corralled.
In one city, Antioch in Syria, over 70,000 of the people in the city were Jewish, living together in the Jewish neighborhood. That’s more people than live in all of Chatham County! This is a legitimate mission field, one they never exhausted.
And yet it strikes us as sad that they only shared the good news about Jesus with their fellow Jews. The city of Antioch had over 500,000 people living in it in the first century. Hundreds of thousands of people had no access to the good news about Jesus because there was no one from their ethnic group to share with them.
Something had to change. And something did change.
As we head into the closing week of our Breaking Through series, we want to invite you to pray that God would open doors for us as a church to connect with a broader and more diverse group of people.
Here’s an example of what that prayer could look like:
I’m grateful for the people I’m connected to at church. And we love worshipping and serving you together. Would you open doors for us to experience deeper relationships with people who differ from us?