now in these days prophets came down from jerusalem to antioch. and one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of claudius). [acts 11:27-28]
a timely word for the people of God, which they are called to act upon, for God’s glory
new testament prophecy and modern prophecy are hotly debated, and the scriptural meaning and purpose of prophecy is often lost in the midst; what we see here in acts chapter 11 is a timely word for the people of God, which they are called to act upon, for God’s glory.
a timely word
knowledge of this upcoming famine is given in a timely manner, so that God’s followers can act and support those who will soon desperately need it. God knows all things, including the future and how much time we will need to do what he’s calling us to, and his instructions always come at the right time.
for the people of God
agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit. God’s presence in his people leads to miraculous things—like this prophecy and the coming support timely given later in this chapter. this is not something agabus conjured up by his will, but something God did through his servant. the people of God—we are the ones saved by the blood and given the very presence of God through his Spirit by no merit if our own. that is who we are!
which they are called to act upon
this prophecy is not for show or for any man’s glory—it gives God’s people a specific way to give and serve their fellow believers. God’s word leads to action.
for God’s glory
God could have provided for the church in jerusalem in any way he wanted: he didn’t need to use prophecy so that he had access to the church in antioch’s funds. but by predicting this beforehand he enables the church in antioch to take part in his work, and this story gives Him glory as author, initiator, and sustainer—in that time, and now through us 2,000 years later!
Lord, thank you for your indwelling presence for all believers, and thank you for providing for us! help us to trust in you as sustainer, provider, and King! your word leads us to worship; magnify your name in us!
~ stephen hall