Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
When he arrived in Jerusalem, he attempted to associate with the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took Saul, brought him to the apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, that the Lord had spoken to him and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. So he was staying with them, associating openly with them in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. Acts 9.26-28
Can you imagine how the disciples in Jerusalem felt when Saul, otherwise known as Paul, returned to the city? The last thing that many had heard of him, he was on his way to Damascus to bring disciples back to Jerusalem to put them in prison. Is it any wonder that they were all afraid of him and just a little skeptic of his change of heart?
However, there was one who was willing to talk to him and listen to his story. Barnabas took Saul to the apostles and told them what he had learned. Afterwards, Saul associated openly with the disciples speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.
It must have been difficult for Saul to return to Jerusalem knowing what awaited him there. He would be returning to a familiar place, but associating with people that were not in his old circle of friends. Most importantly, his message and his life had changed drastically!
Do not let fear stand in the way of service in the kingdom. Be a Barnabas and take the one, who is different from who you knew, under your wing. Help pave the way for their acceptance from the brethren. Help to dispel the fear. The gospel has the power to change lives drastically, for the better!
#risingjoy #Acts #Barnabas
Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.
Here are the topics you will find:
- Noah: Obedient Faith in a Wicked World! (Mike Bonner)
- Abraham: He Who Staggered Not in Unbelief (Cody Westbrook)
- Barnabas: He Who Met the Need (Don Walker)
- John the Baptizer: The Most Humble Disciple (Carl McCann)
- Peter: From a Pebble To a Rock (Clay Bond)
- Joshua: The Courageous Leader (Bill Burk)
Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.
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An interesting situation happened this past Sunday morning during our adult class as we were studying the Bible person of John Mark. The situation arose when I asked how Barnabas and Mark were related to each other, and the answer wasn’t as clear-cut as I originally thought it would be. I was under the impression, per my memorization of scripture, that Mark was Barnabas’ nephew, but most translations say Barnabas and Mark were cousins.
“Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)” (KJV)
“Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him).” (NET)
I’ve checked out the actual Greek word which seems to indicate that the relationship was that of cousins, but, as some commentators point out, it’s possible that the same word could be used for both nephews and cousins…sorta along the lines of father being used for grandfathers and great, great, etc. grandfathers.
So the question is, have you ever you studied out this situation before? What do you think? After all, I figured a few heads are much better than one in this case.
An American patriotic hymn’s final verse is a prayer:
“Our father’s God, to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.”
When we sing this prayer, written in 1832 by Samuel Smith, we remember passages that talk about Christ’s concern for freedom. When Jesus preached in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth, he read a passage from Isaiah 61:1-2:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18,19). He chastised religious leaders who attempted to go beyond the word of God in binding additional requirements on God’s people. He modeled how freedom works best when exercised with discipline and respect for others. Jesus could converse with people whom others disdained because of their lifestyle because he could see their potential for being God’s people. He could forgive people who tried to hurt him and even people who had committed adultery, but express anguish over others who tried to deny help to suffering individuals because of religious laws. Jesus understood, as they did not, that submission means giving up my desires and wants to serve another, not making another into a clone of myself. Freedom does not mean doing whatever one wants. The same biblical chapter that begins, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” also warns that those who engage in the acts of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God, and concludes, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another” (Galatians 5:1, 19-21, 26). Freedom is messy. Sometimes I am bothered by something I observe in a congregation, but when I search the Scriptures, pray, and perhaps check out the history there, I realize they are merely exercising their freedom in Christ. That sometimes is hard for me to admit, because I thought initially that they were wrong and needed to be corrected. On the other hand, some times what people do or tolerate is wrong and should be corrected (Note Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, whom the apostle corrected on several issues. Christ’s letters to the seven churches in Asia (Revelation 2 and 3) also emphasize that there are limits to individual and congregational freedom in Christ. What helps me is to imitate what Barnabas did at Antioch and look for the grace of God at work (Acts 11). Freedom, whether in our nation or in the church, may make us uncomfortable, but so long as it is in harmony with the word of God, we rejoice because we too are free in Christ.
We celebrate the beginnings of our nation’s independence and its continuing quest for freedom for its citizens. We moan because someone else’s freedom conflicts with our own. We worry when our freedoms (both as citizens and Christians) seem to be threatened. Let’s keep singing and praying that God will protect us and our nations (for those who live elsewhere), that he will use us to bring liberating light into the lives of our neighbors and our enemies, that we will grow in love and in disciplined use of the freedoms God has given us.
Does this prayer sound like it contains conflicting requests?
Heavenly Father, make me like Barnabas the encourager, make me realize all true encouragement comes from you.
Peter appealed to the Lord to depart from him because he was not worthy, but the Lord saw in him something that could produce much good. How in the world could the Lord use anyone like Paul?! As He saw Paul, what He saw was one who could accomplish much good. What do we see in others? What do we see in ourselves? Past reputations, if they are bad, are not easy to “live down.” Nehemiah led the people in Jerusalem to rebuild the wall; they had a mind to work when one took an interest in them….and led them. Do you remember reading of Barnabas when he took Paul to Jerusalem to see the apostles? Paul’s past reputation was a bit tough for some to accept. Whatever hindrances Barnabas might have had, The Record states none, he moved past them and did the Lord’s work! RT