Making Disciples Through Encouragment
Many of us have heard of Saul of Tarsus (The Apostle Paul); but we wouldn’t have heard of him if it wouldn’t have been for Barnabas. Barnabas sets the stage for Paul to do what he did through his life. Originally; Barnabas was named Joseph but Barnabas means Son of Encouragement. Acts 4:36 says: Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”)
God sends a man named Ananias to pray for Saul. Then we see in Acts Ch.9: But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. Here we see that Barnabas is just like us. He is just a networker; and brought Saul in peace to the people of Damascus.
Barnabas is like a bridge person to the people in Damascus, Antioch; etc. We have bridge people in our church as well. People who are involved in different things (Sports, music, etc.) can be a bridge from their sphere of influence to the Church!
Acts 11:22-26 says:
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
Acts 13: 1-3 says: Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 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.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
There is amazing diversity in these verses! There is a black man, a guy from Turkey, a guy who was wealthy and grew up with the king! All different kinds of people. Barnabas and Saul were set apart! They were chosen and called to ‘Go’ and travel together for Christ. They travel and raise up leaders for the church. The way we are able to plant churches all over the place, is just like this. Raising up leaders through the people we know in our spheres of influence; and allowing them to lead the church.
Acts 15:36-41 says: 36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Barnabas and Paul end up parting ways as we see in the verses above. We know a lot more about Paul; but this is the last time we see Barnabas. He is a good guy, because he lead Paul on his first trip. Barnabas is a huge part of Paul’s testimony.
When you look at the gospels; there are a lot of similarities between the four of them. Mark wrote the first one; and the others followed. If Mark hadn’t written the first one, would anyone else have followed? Barnabas helped people get started; and did exactly what God needed him to do.
Who do you know who is down in their dumps? Who needs you to be a Barnabas for them? There are a ton of people around you who just need someone to lead them and help them discover what God has called them to do.