Unstoppable! 'God's Call to Help' — Acts 11:27-28

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

During this time [of growth for the church in Antioch] some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.)

— Acts 11:27-28 NLT

Key Thought

In today's reading, Luke revealed several realities for the church in Antioch:

  • The Antioch church shared in genuine fellowship with the Jerusalem church.
  • The Spirit had blessed the church with prophets to help guide and prepare the disciples for the challenges of living for Jesus in difficult times.
  • Christians recognized that they had responsibilities as citizens of the world as part of seeking first the Kingdom of God (cf. Matthew 6:33).
  • Luke made sure to anchor his story in history by referring to Roman emperors to give the story a time-stamp,* much as he did in his gospel.**

As followers of Jesus, our ultimate allegiance lies in our heavenly Kingdom (Philippians 3:20-21), but that allegiance is not some abstract, "spiritual" thing. It has very real consequences in how we live with and treat other people (Matthew 25:31-46; Acts 2:45, 4:32-35; Galatians 5:22-23) and how we submit to governing authorities (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17; Acts 5:28-29). Also, we should remember that instructions about submitting to authorities were given even when Christians were being persecuted (1 Peter 4:12-14).

* The reign of Claudius was around A.D. 45-46.
** See the first set of Related Scripture Readings, below.

Today's Prayer

Almighty God, Lord over all rulers on earth, please give me wisdom in knowing how best to live honoring my responsibilities to my citizenship in your Kingdom. I want to seek your Kingdom first, O God, and bless Jesus' fellowship of believers worldwide. Help me know how best to meet my responsibilities to earthly governments without compromising or sacrificing my loyalty to you and your people. I ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 1:5, 2:1-3; Luke 20:20-26
  • Philippians 3:20-21; Romans 13:1-7

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 11:27-28 NLT — During this time [of growth for the church in Antioch] some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.)

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.