June 17, 2018
WOULD SAUL HAVE BECOME PAUL WITHOUT BARNABAS?
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard about the great number of Gentiles coming to the Lord at Antioch, they sent their trusted representative, Barnabas, to the city. His real name was Joseph, but he had been nicknamed “Barnabas” by the apostles, which according to Acts 4:36 meant “Son of Encouragement.” He was from the tribe of Levi and grew up on the Island of Cyprus. He once sold a field and gave all the money to the apostles (Acts 4:37).
When Barnabas went to Antioch and saw how the Lord was moving there, he was overjoyed. He immediately decided to take the 4-day journey to Tarsus to look for Saul.
Why? The Bible doesn’t answer this question. But perhaps it was because he had heard Saul (whose name was changed to “Paul”) describe the word that Ananias had first spoken over him. For the Lord had told Ananias, “Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Certainly, the first great gospel movement among the Gentiles was at Antioch.
Regardless, Barnabas went to get Saul when he saw the great need for disciple-makers in Antioch. The two of them worked together there for a full year.
It was Barnabas who introduced Saul to the apostles when they had at first refused to see him. And it was Barnabas that went to find him when his help was needed at Antioch. Would “Saul” have ever become “Paul” without Barnabas?
Do you have a “Barnabas” in your life, who encourages you to get out of your comfort zone and pursue God’s calling?