“From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.” (Acts 14:26-27 NIV84)
Paul and Barnabas arrived home after their first missionary journey. What a homecoming that must have been! They called together the very church that sent them out and shared with them all the Lord did in and through them to reach the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They shared stories of miraculous healing, divine intervention, divine guidance, spiritual conversion, persecution, and the advancement of the kingdom of God. They came back to Antioch with the assurance that God’s kingdom was on the move. Although the stories were almost unbelievable, they must have had the sense that this was just the beginning. Almost like, “We ain’t seen nothing yet!”
Isn’t that the truth! Who could have pictured the reality that the Gospel message would have made it around the entire planet? Who would have guessed that 2,000 years later God’s Word would be accessible in hundreds of languages and even free on the Internet? Do you understand that you are a Christian today because the disciples were faithful to their calling to spread the Gospel to “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the outermost parts of the world”? If we were to link ourselves backward to the person responsible for sharing Jesus with us, that link would go all the way back to disciples like Paul and Barnabas. What a homecoming it will be when we finally get to heaven and are able to see those links.
So, what about you and me? Who are we going to link to? Let’s make sure that we will be part of someone’s amazing homecoming because we shared the Gospel with them.