Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Barnabas, Son of Encouragement

Galatians 2:9
  • and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.

James (the Lord Jesus' brother), Cephas (Peter) and John were the leaders of the churches in Jerusalem and around Judea, primarily focusing on the Jews.

Paul recognised that James, Peter and John were the pillars or, in another words, leaders of the Jewish Christians. These apostolic leaders lead the churches of Jerusalem and Judea because the grace that was given to them by the Lord Jesus.

Paul mentioned that James, Peter and John perceived that Paul was given the grace by the Lord Jesus to preach the gospel. That was why they gave Paul the right hand of fellowship to him and Barnabas.

Now, let me talk about Barnabas. He was an associate of Paul, the apostle.

His name is first mentioned in the book of Acts,
  • There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 
  • and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 
  • Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 
  • sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

He was a Levite, a member of the priestly tribe of Israel, and he comes from the island of Cyprus.

It was also Barnabas who took Paul to the apostles in Jerusalem and introduced him to them.
Acts 9:26, 27
  • And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 
  • But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 

When the great persecution arose, and the believers in Jesus were scattered through Judea and beyond. Many believers came to Antioch as well where many heard about Jesus for the first time and were saved.

  •  The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 
  • When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 
  • for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. 
  • So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 
  • and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

Barnabas was a close associate of Paul, and they traveled together quite often.

Acts 12:25
  • And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.

Acts 13:1
  • Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

Acts 13:2
  • While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

One time, they went to Cyprus, the homeland of Barnabas.

Acts 13:4-7
  • So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 
  • When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. 

  • When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 
  • He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 

It is no wonder that Barnabas had a prominent role in the expansion of Christianity in the Gentile lands, and it is easy to see how the apostles in Jerusalem gave Barnabas the right hand of fellowship along with Paul for their work in the Gentile nations in light of the passages read above.

This was also confirmed by the Holy Spirit's choice to send them to other Gentile regions for the proclamation of the gospel.

Acts 13:2
  • While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

No comments:

Post a Comment