But Barnabas!

Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Acts 9:26-27

“When he came to Jerusalem, he (Saul, later called Paul) tried to see the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.”

I may be a nut, but this passage just sends me higher than a kite. Remember that the last time Scripture mentions anything about Barnabas is in Acts chapter 4. In the intervening chapters a significant number of events are mentioned—Stephen died a Martyr’s death; Saul was struck blind, became a believer, and had his sight restored by a faithful servant named Ananias, who swallowed his fear and placed his hands on him as the Lord had commanded.

Paul eventually came to Jerusalem and made an attempt to see the disciples. They were afraid of him and even questioned the reports that he was now a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Into this scene of fear and suspicion steps Barnabas, the “SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT.” Remember, that is the meaning of the name “Barnabas.” How Barnabas knew all of the information about Saul, we are not told. But he had done his research well. He also was willing to put his own life in jeopardy. He did not simply tell the disciples about Saul—notice that it says he “took” him to the disciples. His close proximity to this former enemy of the believers shows that he was willing to place himself in jeopardy to speak in support of Saul.

I am afraid that most of us are more prone to be disciples from a distance. We send reports about a person, but do not want to get too involved. This does not even involve our physical safety, but just our reputation, and still we distance ourselves from the one we support.

Barnabas took Saul with him and gave a complete account of Saul’s conversion and how he had been preaching Jesus fearlessly in Damascus. When I read this, I wonder why the other disciples had not been looking for such a good report?

The church at this time was quite large, but only Barnabas became Saul’s spokesman. It is also relevant that after Barnabas gave this positive affirmation about Saul, Saul had free access to the disciples. It speaks volumes as to the confidence that the disciples placed in the encouraging word that Barnabas gave.

BUT BARNABAS! It indicates that here was a man that stood alone. The rest of the believers were afraid and did not want to be in danger, BUT BARNABAS! The word may have reached—yes it had reached Jerusalem about his miraculous transformation—but what if it was all a hoax? BUT BARNABAS!

If there is ever a time that we need to get off our collective do-nothings and be involved, it is in our day and age. We are all too often the spiritual couch potatoes who can be counted on to stay where we are and never venture out of our comfort zone. We never volunteer to help out in our church. In fact we so seldom attend that the greeter wants to give us a visitor’s button when we show up. Wow! That sure is counting for Jesus isn’t it?!!

BUT BARNABAS! That’s it! We need more who will step forward and by their actions say, I do not care what the others say or do or think! I have determined that I will step forward and put my life on the line for the sake of the gospel! I urge all who read this to risk everything for the sake of Christ.

Blessings dear hearts. Draw near to God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing!

— Pastor Cecil

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