Paul and Barnabas Disciple Antioch
Topic: Discipling Generations Passage: Acts 11:19–11:26
Barnabus is an inspirational figure in the Scriptures. His real name is Joseph, but the Apostles called him Barnabus, which means “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). He was an ideal example of discipling others. In today’s text, we see the church in Jerusalem send him to Antioch, where a new church of Jews and Greeks had formed.
Verse 23 says Barnabus “exhorted” them to remain faithful. The Greek word rendered here “exhorted” is the same word used of the Holy Spirit’s ministry elsewhere (we call the Holy Spirit the paraclete from this word). In John 14:15, Jesus uses that same Greek word (there translated as Helper) to refer to both himself and the Holy Spirit. It literally means “called alongside,” which is what Jesus does, what the Holy Spirit does, and what those discipling others do.
Jesus comes alongside us so we can come alongside others.
The text says that Barnabus was effective because he was a “good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (v. 24). He was good because Jesus made him good, like he does for all sinners who repent of being bad, then trusting in Christ. He was full of the Holy Spirit because he was choosing to put God’s agenda above his own sinful desires (see Galatians 5:16-17). All Christians have the Holy Spirit, but not all Christians listen to him. Barnabus did. He was also full of faith because he knew the effectiveness of the gospel based on what it had done in his own life. He trusted God’s Word. The result of his ministry in Antioch was that “a great many people were added to the Lord” (v.24). Fashion your life to be like Barnabus.
Taking it home: Seek God for his goodness, Holy Spirit and faith in your own life. Then ask God for someone you can come alongside and encourage toward Christ.