Read Acts 11:19-26.
In the New International Version of these verses, the phrasing of verse 24 describes the people of Antioch as having been “brought to the Lord,” a phrase that gets tossed around quite frequently in Christian circles.
But what exactly does the writer of Acts mean when they say that these individuals were brought to the Lord? And what does it mean for us today and during this season?
Maybe it means that these people repented from their sins and decided that Jesus’ death on the cross meant an eternity in heaven. Or maybe it means that these people were gathered in to a community of loving individuals who welcomed them exactly as they were. It could be both or neither of these, depending on how you interpret the Scripture.
Whatever your interpretation, what do these verses mean we are meant to do for others today?
The Scripture goes on to say that the people at Antioch were the first to be called Christians. The very first to claim Christ’s name as their own. The first to desire a life of radical grace enough to name themselves after one who practiced radical grace.
As we who call ourselves Christians get closer to the celebration of the coming of Jesus, how do we respond to the privilege and responsibility of claiming this title? And how do we find our own way of celebrating those who are brought into our community of radical love and grace this season?
Olivia Marenco, PCM @ ETSU