A Bridge To The Greeks
Antayaka is located on the Syrian border on the Orontes River in southern Turkey, not far from the Mediterranean. Today, the locals call it “Tuscany with Minarets, ” but the Syrian War brought new arrivals in 2012, wounded Syrian rebel soldiers looking for makeshift medical clinics and battled-hardened soldiers seeking to train new volunteers.
Most of Antayaka’s inhabitants are Moslem, but in the first century this was the place where believers, for the first time as a group, broke out of the cocoon of Judaism and it was some persecuted refugees who built the bridge.
“Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was martyred traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, Syria. As they went, they told the word about Jesus but only shared with Jews. There were, however, some men from Cyprus and from Cyrene who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks also, presenting the Good News about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them and large numbers believed and turned to the Lord.” Acts 11:19-21
The present Syrian War has caused the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. If we have the spirit of our first century brothers and sisters, we will open our hearts and see all the relocation as a golden opportunity to build bridges into the hearts of many of these displaced wanderers.
LORD, bless the Christians still living in Antayaka. As they care for those displaced by the war, may hearts and minds be changed about the identity of Jesus and give them the joy of experiencing the forgiveness that comes from trust in the cross and the resurrection.
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