Monday, November 1, 2010



Give a brief historical biography of Joses, Barnabas, Son of Consolation/Exhortation/Prophecy, the Levite Believer of Cyprus who became an Apostle of faith.

• A Jew from the tribe of Levi, born and raised in Cyprus which gave him Hellenistic exposure and prepared him to move in circles and argue matters without the prejudice one born in Israel would have faced. (In like manner was Saul of Tarsus born and initially educated in a Hellenistic society which made him conversant with the Greek speaking elite of the Roman Empire in that day.)
• An evident man of means, property at least. (although a Levite, he was nonetheless a property owner, perhaps from inheritance or even through marriage)
• Became a believer, converted in Jerusalem most likely while on a pilgrimage around the time of Pentecost.
• Was a people person who possessed a certain ability to present convincing argument.
• Greatly trusted with both doctrine and money.
• Was well known and received by the Apostles in Jerusalem to be an Apostle himself, called of God sent with the Gospel to the Gentile nations.

The life of Barnabas reveals Three Great and Eternal Truths

1. God determines where and into what means a person is born.

Acts 4
36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,
37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

2. We all encounter moments which hold dynamic potential.

As we follow Barnabas’ life story we are reminded over and again that God offers dynamic opportunities. Whether or not we recognize the opportunity as coming from God and what we do with those opportunities often determine our effectiveness and our later assignments of life.

Just as God offered Barnabas a dynamic opportunity to travel from Cyprus to Jerusalem, followed by another dynamic opportunity to become a believer in Jesus, followed by another dynamic opportunity to sell his land and give the money to the work of God through the church … God continues to offer dynamic opportunity after dynamic opportunity to Barnabas. The miracle only stops when and where we stop!

Acts 9
26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
28 So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out.
29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him.
30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.
31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.

3. To have been a part of God’s plan was a good ride.

Have you ever had the experience of taking your children or someone else for a fun day at the fair or the beach or astro-world. Then, when you have had a great day with lots of fun, it comes time to leave. Nothing bad, it’s just that the day is over and it’s time to go home.

If you have ever had that experience you know that sometimes people, especially, but not limited to, children, can get fussy and start moaning, complaining, and crying and pitching a fit, stomping around and even falling down and just ruin the whole wonderful day’s experience. Why, because the disappointment of it being time to go home completely overshadows and ruins all the fun they had all day long. Now that’s sad!

What do you want to say to a child or grown up friend who was doing that? I’d want to say: “Well if you’re gonna act like that, I just won’t bring you next time!” “What’s the matter with you, it was a good day, we had a good time, --- It was a good ride!” “Can’t you just enjoy the fact that we had a good day and realize that if you act right, we will have another good day in the future.”

It is so sad to have had such a good day, such a good time, such a wonderful experience, and then throw it all away all because it’s over. Hey, that’s life – everything in this life has an end. What we need to focus on is not the end, but rather on the good ride we had. Not on the rides or food that made us sick, but on the ones that made us laugh! Those are the treasured memories and those are the ones for which we are so thankful to our God.

In Barnabas’ life, he was so mightily used by God. Without his input, Paul might never have been accepted by the Apostles in Jerusalem; the missionary journeys we read about in the book of Acts might never have been taken or supported or written about; without Barnabas’ financial support to the church in Jerusalem, not only when he lived there but also afterwards, people’s needs might have gone unmet; without Barnabas’ care for John Mark, he might have never recovered from his failures to become profitable once again to the ministry of the aged Apostle Paul.

Many scholars, preachers, theologians and readers of the book of Acts are left with the wrong impression about Barnabas and his lasting impact on the kingdom of God and the church of Christ. Barnabas did what God called him to do and I believe that he fully participated in the will of God for his life.

My favorite mention of Barnabas, out of the 30 times he is referenced in the book of Acts, is found in Acts 11. I believe it sums up the life and ministry of this great disciple, this “Son of Consolation”.

Acts 11
22 Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch.
23 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.
24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul.
26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

So, what are some things we learn from the life of Barnabas?

1. God determines where and into what means a person is born.
God has a plan for every person

2. We all encounter moments which hold dynamic potential.
It’s what we do with those opportunities that makes the difference.

3. To have been a part of God’s plan was a good ride.
When things end as they should, be thankful for the ride!