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. But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenistic also, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The Hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the Church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Acts 11:19-24
Barnabas’ hometown is Cyprus and there are believers (who were accustomed to speaking with Gentiles) from Cyprus in Antioch. Antioch was the third largest city in the Roman Empire. And because of Stephen’s stoning and death the persecution of the believers was heightened, Spirit led leaders strategically spread out, and Christ’s Church takes hold by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is in Antioch that believers were first called Christians and this was known as the Antioch Gentile Church. The Gentiles here were idol worshippers until they receive repentance unto life in Christ our Lord. The Holy Spirit falls into their hearts. The power of God’s Spirit, the Hand of the Lord, is with believers in this Church in Antioch. Barnabas is Pastor, preaching and teaching Christ Alive.
He arrives at the Church and sees the Grace of God. Grace — Christ alive, transforming hearts to be more like Him and Barnabas enthusiastically encourages them, prays constantly for them, and he loves this flock. So do I for we are one in Christ Jesus.