The Antioch Network

By Ethan Keller, March 20, 2022

Acts 13 Intro: Geo-Literary Structure

  • Acts 1:1 – content of the book
  • Acts 1:8 – the blueprint

13:1: The Antioch Network Antioch

  • Cosmopolitan city; Josephus [1st century Jewish historian] calls it 3rd among the cities of the Roman world; an estimated 500,000ppl
  • Thriving Jesus community?
  • Acts 11:19-20 – 10+ year earlier
  • Saul > Stephen > Antioch Church > Saul
  • Not the exceptional heroes – everyday, ordinary followers of Jesus

The Antioch Network

  • Incredibly diverse: geographical and cultural backgrounds
  • Manaen – lifelong friend of Herod [beheaded John and put Jesus on trial]
  • Luke’s chief purpose – we realize this is undeniably Jesus’s story
  • No possible human way this thing gets off the ground
  • Human ingenuity or planning could never have predicted or accomplished

13:2-3: Fasting

  • Fasting an essential component [and routine practice?] in this sequence?
  • Can you give a definition of fasting? Can you articulate meaning and purpose?
  • Popular perspective: fasting > obtain some result

Some biblical examples:

  • Death, national sin, healing, injustice
  • Jesus – Luke 5:33-35
  1. He intended that we would fast
  2. He connects fasting with his presence—or absence of
  • Fasting is how we respond to the sacred moments of life—those moment where we recognize the need for God to be present [may lead to results]
  • Natural response – aligning my perspective with God’s
  • Precisely what we have in Acts 13… [John Piper quote] “So, the leaders of the church were fasting, it seems, in order to express to God their own need and longing and desire with their bodies for God’s guidance in missionary breakthroughs. And God responded with an answer that totally transformed the world, because the mission of Barnabas and Saul (or Paul) was one of the most important missionary endeavors in the history of the world. The advancement of the gospel broke into the western Roman Empire, and nothing in the world has ever been the same since that breakthrough.”
  • Are we really motivated to partner with God in his transformative work in the world?