In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen . . . and Saul. (Acts 13:1)
Expanded Passage: Acts 13:1–2
Recently, a friend was sharing about his past and casually mentioned that he had played basketball in college. He then quickly went on to the next subject, until I jumped into the conversation to say, “Hold up. That’s all you’re going to say?” I had seen the pictures of him playing pick-up basketball with NBA legends like Michael Jordan. Others listening didn’t know my friend was a legend, too.
If I’m honest, this first verse in Acts 13 is also easy to fly past, too. The Holy Spirit gives us names and details on purpose. Could it be that the church in Antioch had a unique role to play in the early church, making disciples that made it different from the church in Jerusalem? Not better, but different. Cyrene was a city on the North African coast. It would be in modern day Libya. Manaen was from Palestine. Paul was from Tarsus, which was in Asia Minor or modern-day Turkey. This group of leaders God was raising up weren’t just multiethnic to take a picture for marketing materials. They didn’t just reflect the world they were called to reach; they spoke the languages, loved the people, and understood the cultures too. The gospel transcends race and culture, but it does not erase them. Being diverse helped these leaders be a more credible witness of this wall-destroying gospel they were proclaiming.
Diversify your relationships, and watch who God will send you to.
Santes Beatty is a husband and father who loves traveling, writing, cooking, and equipping leaders. He is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and serves with parachurch organizations.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.