Barnabas, Son of Encouragement - Acts 11

Barnabas, Son of Encouragement

Acts 11:1-30

The first time that we meet Barnabas, he is introduced to us in Acts 4:36, 37.  We learn that his name originally was Joses (or Joseph), but the apostles named him Barnabas, which means "Son of Encouragement."  Undoubtedly, this name was given to him, because he was an encouragement to others.

Since he was "a Levite of the country of Cyprus," perhaps his priestly family background prompted him to move to Jerusalem to be near the temple.  It's quite possible that he was acquainted with Jesus when He was there.  We don't know when he became a believer.  We do know that he owned some "land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet."

Next he is mentioned in Acts 9:26, 27.  He is still in Jerusalem, despite the chaos and mayhem caused by Saul, which caused others to run away.  It appears that he remained there with the apostles. 

After Saul was converted on the road to Damascus he returned to Jerusalem, and "tried to join the disciples."  Would you have welcomed him into your fellowship?  The Christians in Jerusalem "were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple."  Understandably they wanted to keep their distance from Saul.

One man stepped forward.  Barnabas, the son of encouragement, "took him and brought him to the apostles."  He testified on Saul's behalf of his conversion experience, and subsequent preaching endeavor at Damascus.  The apostles welcomed him, "so he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out."

The third reference to Barnabas is found here in Acts 11:19-30.  A spiritual revival was breaking out in Antioch, so the church in Jerusalem sent out Barnabas to see what was happening.  "When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  And a great many people were added to the Lord."  Acts 11:23, 24.

Barnabas left Antioch and went to Tarsus, Saul's hometown.  He went looking for Saul, found him, and brought him back to Antioch, where they ministered together for one year.  Hearing the prophetic word of a great famine, the disciples at Antioch decided to send relief to Christians in Judea.  Barnabas and Saul were chosen to deliver the relief goods, which they did.

It has been said, "Flatter me, and I may not believe you.  Criticize me, and I may not like you.  Ignore me, and I may not forgive you.  Encourage me, and I will not forget you."  Without a doubt Barnabas, the son of encouragement, will always be remembered. 

 

Father, we know You as a God of patience and encouragement.  Thank You for the comfort that You provide in difficult times and situations.  Help us become an encouragement to others.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

An Unbelievable Prison Break - Acts 12 

 
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New King James Version.
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