He shows that she is worthy to hear and not to be overlooked, and then He reveals Himself. For she, as soon as she had learnt who He was, would straightway hearken and attend to Him; ...
-St. John Chrysostom, Homily 31 on John 3, 4th Century
THE persecution turned out to be no slight benefit as "to them that love God all things work together for good." (Rom. viii. 28.) If they had made it their express study how best to establish the Church, they would have done no other thing than this--they dispersed the teachers.[*] Mark in what quarters the preaching was extended. "They travelled," it says, "as far as Phenice and Cyprus and Antioch; to none however did they preach the word but to Jews only." Dost thou mark with what wise purposes of Providence so much was done in the case of Cornelius? This serves both to justify Christ, and to impeach the Jews. When Stephen was slain, when Paul was twice in danger, when the Apostles were scourged, then the Gentiles received the word, then the Samaritans. Which Paul also declares: "To you it was necessary that the Word of God should first be spoken; but since ye thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy, lo, we turn unto the Gentiles." (ch. xiii. 46.)..."And the hand of the Lord," it says, "was with them," that is, they wrought miracles; "and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord." (v. 21.) Do you mark why now also there was heed of miracles (namely) that they might believe? "Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch." (v. 22.) What may be the reason that, when such a city received the word, they did not come themselves? Because of the Jews. But they send Barnabas. However, it is no small part of the providential management even so that Paul comes to be there. It is both natural, and it is wisely ordered, that they are averse to him, and (so) that Voice of the Gospel, that Trumpet of heaven, is not shut up in Jerusalem..."And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch." (v. 26.) Verily this is the reason why it was there they were appointed to be called Christians, because Paul there spent so long time!
-St. John Chrysostom, Homily 25 on Acts 11, 4th Century