But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord. Acts 11:20-24
This morning it was a pleasure to read about one of my favourite Bible characters, Barnabas the encourager. I can’t remember when I first read about him but I do know I simply love this great man of God, he oozes positivity in everything he does. A truly amazing guy who we could all learn from.
We first encounter Barnabas in Acts 4 where we learn he is a native of Cyprus, whose original name is Joseph. He sold land he owned and gave it as an offering to the church. The apostles renamed him Barnabas meaning “Son of Encouragement.” The next time we see Barnabas is in Acts 9 in Jerusalem as he speaks up in defence of the newly converted Saul before the Apostles. It is clear that the word of Barnabas was effective, Saul was accepted by the church. In Acts 11 the news of a mighty revival amongst the Greeks in Antioch reaches Jerusalem. The church sends Barnabas to investigate further, after all he was a Cyprian as were some of those who were preaching in Antioch.
What Barnabas finds in Antioch gives him great joy as many were being brought to Jesus the Lord. He does his utmost to encourage the preachers in their labours and to remain true to the gospel of Christ. Barnabas is a striking man by the strength of his faith and how the Holy Spirit worked through him. It is clear from scripture that Barnabas was filled with the Joy of the Lord, and he shared it as he encouraged other believers in Christ. If you read further on you will see Barnabas searches for Saul and brings him to Antioch where they stay for a further year, where many more are saved and encouraged in the Lord.
Dear reader, be encouraged by the Barnabas! In this scripture he continues to encourage us today to build each other up. A word of kindness, a gift or a prayer need not cost us much but the value to to the recipient may be immense and immediately effective. Who can you encourage today?