But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
The gospel advances through the church in unforeseen ways. That is the story woven through the book of Acts. Who could have guessed that the gentile city of Antioch would become "the next big thing" in church growth and missionary advancement of the Christian faith? But that is exactly what occurred. Right on the heels of two church history defining events (1. The persecution and scattering of the church after Stephen's martyrdom and 2. The conversion of the gentile Cornilius' household as God led Peter to bring the gospel to a Roman) the gospel goes wide after Christians flee Jerusalem. And in Antioch a gospel-driven church is born.
These scattered Christians had every earthly reason to keep quiet. The Jewish authorities were cracking down. Christian leaders were being hunted, imprisoned, and killed. Yet the refugee disciples kept the gospel alive, and in every city where they fled, churches flourished. Jesus was building His church with obedient, courageous disciples whose faith did not die when they did.
Thank God that Christians have been faithful to the gospel as courageous, refugee witnesses. They will not buckle under pressure. The gospel boldly lives even under the most oppressive efforts of those who hate the truth to suppress it. And courageous disciples who bravely make other courageous disciples will bring the gospel message around the globe. We are still called to live out this command with a refugee mindset! This world is not our permanent home. God's hand will build a thriving church from refugees who will abandon all except the love of their Savior.