A good reputation is hard to come by. It takes hard work over time. Are we willing to put in the effort?
Yesterday, we were seeking the answers to these questions regarding the first two verses in Galatians:
Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers and sisters with me,
- Who is Paul?
- How can he be an apostle?
- Where is he?
- Who are the brothers and sisters with him?
By looking in Acts, we found that Paul was actually Saul of Tarsus, whose Jewish name was Saul, but his Roman name was Paul (Greek). He became an apostle (sent one) through his commission by Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9 and 26). Saul had returned home, and that’s where we pick up the account. Here is a map that will help keep track of where we are.
19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. Acts 11:19-26
I’ve always wondered why Barnabas went to look for Saul. Could it be that, being a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and faith, he was being obedient to Jesus? I believe so.
If we were to keep reading, we would find that there was a famine in Israel, and the church at Antioch sent Barnabas and Saul to Jerusalem with a gift to help out. We will pick up the account there:
25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark. Acts 12:25
Mark was Barnabas’ nephew, and the familial tie comes into play when Barnabas and Paul were about to take their second missionary journey. Mark has abandoned them on the first journey, and Paul was not going to take him with them. Barnabas and Paul sharply disagreed, so Barnabas took Mark with him on a journey and Paul took Silas with him on his journey. You can read all about it in Acts 15:36-41.
We are about ready to answer questions 3 and 4, but not until tomorrow.
Abba, I want to be like Barnabas, a good man and full of the Holy Spirit. I think we all would like to be like him. May You continue to shape us into the image of Christ. May You also include us in Your work to reach people. Amen.