6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: We see something of the character of Barnabas in the book of Acts.


Acts 4:36-37

In Bible days, names often signified something about the person to whom they were given. In Acts 4:36 we read of a man who was named by the apostles: Barnabas, the son of consolation. We see something of the character of Barnabas in the book of Acts.

Barnabas encouraged the apostles themselves by selling his land and contributing the money from the sale to the church. He was under no compulsion to do so, but he felt it was part of his stewardship to serve Christ in this way. Sometimes God calls us out of our own comfort zone to serve Him! - Acts 4:37.

Saul was once a persecutor of the fledgling church. A change occurred in his life. He began to preach Christ the Son of God, and he found himself now the victim of persecution! Escaping from Damascus he sought to join the disciples in Jerusalem, but they would not believe that he was a believer. That is, until Barnabas took him in hand and brought him to the apostles with an account of both his conversion experience and his preaching - Acts 9:27.

Barnabas was reckoned a trustworthy man by the church in Jerusalem, and they sent him to encourage the church in Antioch. Meantime Saul had been sent home to Tarsus, to escape persecution in Jerusalem. Barnabas found Saul and brought him to Antioch. It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. Barnabas and Saul were entrusted with the relief which was being sent from Antioch to Judea - Acts 11:22-30.

From Jerusalem they were commissioned to carry forward the mission to the Gentiles. A young man called John Mark also accompanied them for a short while - Acts 12:25-13:5.

In another place called Antioch, Barnabas and Paul were persecuted, but were not deterred - Acts 13:50-52.

In Lystra, Barnabas cut such a father-like figure that the natives thought that he was the god Jupiter - Acts 14:12. In Lystra also Barnabas did not desert Paul when he was stoned, and they continued their journey from there - Acts 14:19-20.

When Barnabas and Paul returned to their base in Antioch they encouraged the disciples with news of their missionary journey - Acts 14:27-28.

When a dissension arose between some teachers from Judea and the church in Antioch, Barnabas and Paul were amongst those sent to discuss the matter with the elders in Jerusalem. From there they were entrusted with an important letter from the church in Jerusalem to the church in Antioch, and again ministered in Antioch - Acts 15:1-35.

Paul proposed a second missionary journey. Barnabas wished to continue to encourage John Mark by taking him along. Paul was not so sure, and the two missionaries parted ways in bitter controversy - Acts 15:36-39.

(Thankfully this rift seems to have been resolved by the time Paul wrote to the Colossians later in his ministry, and Mark shared in comforting the Apostle in his imprisonment - Colossians 4:10-11.)

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