July 15th 2010

Good Ol’ Barnabas!  part 4

The fourth of an occasional series.

“But when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him…. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them…how he [Paul] had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.”
Acts 9:26-28 (NKJV)

Barnabas was a reconciler and someone who readily forgave.

The story records in Acts that he was the one who sought out Paul to help the fledgling church at Antioch. Then he and Paul went to Jerusalem. But here the disciples, including the apostles, were fearful of his previous reputation as the Christian Killer. Barnabas, good old Barnabas, soothed the way.

You can understand the apostles and disciples. Paul had done much damage and had killed many Christians. But Barnabas saw a bigger picture. He saw a man who had needed strong conviction—and what stronger motive can you have for change than having been a multi-murderer?

Barnabas had seen Paul preach. He knew his many strengths, as well as his many weaknesses, and he recognised that God had a use for this flawed human being that was Paul.

I have no doubt Paul needed a Barnabas to encourage him to pick himself up with God’s help and inspiration – having now seen himself for what he was – to harness that natural talent, along with the Holy Spirit, to begin to move the mountains as he did during the rest of his life. And although Paul wrote much of the New Testament and inspired other sections (most of the book of Acts), all this came through Barnabas’ generosity of spirit. Partly because of Barnabas we have this towering, important New Testament figure, Paul.  Without Barnabas we might well not have had Paul.

God’s church needs Barnabases as much as it needs figures like Peter and John.

And we can all be Barnabases.

Most merciful Father, thank you for Barnabas. I may never be someone who you can use to great effect in your service like Peter and John, but I can be an encourager and a forgiver, someone with vision that can be used to establish and build up someone else. Give us a similar vision and big heartedness to be of service to people like Saul, Father, so that they maybe can become another Paul. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford 

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