Daily Office Readings for Monday Proper 9 of Year 1
“When he 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. But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 9:26 – 27)
Barnabas seems to be someone who looks deeper into how God changes people. The below article is from James Kiefer, an amateur (but well respected) Church biographer:
“Joseph, a Levite, born in Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (son of encouragement), sold a field he owned, brought the money, and turned it over to the apostles.” (Acts 4:36f). This is the first mention we have of Barnabas.
His new name fits what we know of his actions. When Saul (or Paul) came to Jerusalem after his conversion, most of the Christians there wanted nothing to do with him. They had known him as a persecutor and an enemy of the Church. But Barnabas was willing to give him a second chance. He looked him up, spoke with him, and brought him to see the other Christians, vouching for him. Later, Paul and Barnabas went on a missionary journey together, taking Mark with them. Part way, Mark turned back and went home. When Paul and Barnabas were about to set out on another such journey, Barnabas proposed to take Mark along, and Paul was against it, saying that Mark had shown himself undependable. Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance, and so he and Mark went off on one journey, while Paul took Silas and went on another. Apparently Mark responded well to the trust given him by the “son of encouragement,” since we find that Paul later speaks of him as a valuable assistant (2 Tim 4:11; see also Col 4:10 and Phil 24).” By James Kiefer
From James Kiefer’s article we learn that Barnabas is a giver of second chances. Not only that, he goes out and advocates for Paul before the apostles. In this we get to see the difference between disciples (students) and apostles (those sent). Barnabas gives Paul a second chance but interestingly Paul does not want to give Mark a second chance, at least initially.
We all make mistakes. We all need that very important second chance. As Saul experienced, it is a hard thing to come by. We need more people like Barnabas in the world. We need more people willing to be with people who have erred and help them explain their change of position in life and then to walk with them as a partner in the new creation they are becoming.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through (and to) God’s people. John+