In Acts 9 the author (Luke) wrote 26 And when Saul (Paul) had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. Let’s take a look at this scenario. Days before, as noted in Acts 8 3 Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. The Christians in Jerusalem did not need long memories to remember the devastation against them directed by one man, Saul. Each had memories of loved one who had been dragged off and thrown into prison. Even before that, one of their beloved, respected leaders, Stephen, was stoned to death under the direction of Saul. Let me assure you, they were traumatized. They wanted nothing to do with this man.
Now, this Saul came back from Damascus wanting to fellowship with the very people had been devastated. Can you imagine the comments among the Christians in Jerusalem. “Excuse me…I don’t think so! Do you think we are stupid?! He has come back to infiltrate us with the objective of terrorizing the church! No way do I want any of that!” But Barnabas, who had great respect of the church, took Saul and brought him to the apostles explaining to them what had happened to Saul on the Damascus Road and how in Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of the Lord. Do you realize how much respect Barnabas had with the believers in Jerusalem? They believed him!
The result? Saul went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. Can you imagine how history would have changed if it was not from this one man, Barnabas? He connected the great apostle of God with the 1st century church unifying the Lord’s body, His church. Barnabas may not have a lot of notoriety with us but he does with God!
Jesus prayed in John 17 21 that they (the church) may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The heart of Jesus for us is unity. Barnabas had the courage, insight and credibility in the midst of turmoil to be a connector unifying the church. The result? The world stood amazed and was “turned upside down” (Acts 17:6).
Hey guys, let’s be a Barnabas Man. It is easy to be a disconnector and go along with the crowd and what they may be saying about another. It takes courage to stand up for someone who is not popular or may have made a mistake. Jesus wants you to become a connector. Acts 15 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Amen!