Male or female. Rich or poor. Conservative or progressive. White, Hispanic, Asian, or African-American. Wahoo, Hokie, or Duke. Every day it seems that our culture becomes more focused on these types of labels that define our identities and lead to segregation and stratification in our society. Over 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “I think it is one of the tragedies of our nation, one of the shameful tragedies, that 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours in Christian America.” In 2018 his words continue to ring true.
Acts 11 presents to us a picture of the church in Antioch that transcends the labels that divide. Instead we see in Antioch a body of believers united by their ultimate identity: Christian. Is it any wonder then that this diverse congregation became the sending church for Paul and Barnabas’ first cross-cultural missionary endeavor?