When Paul spoke in the Synagogues of Damascus, Antioch and Jerusalem he met much opposition. As you remember, Antioch was the first place where believers in Christ were called Christians. God provided the encourager Barnabas to help Paul.
Boldly Speaking of Christ
As Paul came to Jerusalem, he tried to associate with the disciples, but they were afraid of him. They knew him as a vicious persecutor of believers. However, Barnabas knew Paul and brought him to the apostles. He told them of the miraculous encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Now a changed man, Paul boldly proclaimed Jesus was the Son of God. However, in Jerusalem Paul was rejected and sent off to Tarsus (for nine years).
Saul was a Pharisee of the School of Gamaliel. Bible scholars * reveal that Barnabas was likely a companion and student of this renowned school.
- Barnabas was noted to be full of the Holy Spirit and trusted to participate in ministry.
- Bible scholars also state that Barnabas was one of the 70 Jesus sent out with direction and authority to “heal the sick and tell them the Kingdom of God is near you now” (Luke 10:11b).
- Barnabas is mentioned twenty-three times in Acts and 3 additional times in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, Galatians and Colossians.
A Helper for Paul
He assisted Paul for a full year with the new church in Antioch and together they carried contributions from the Antioch church to the church in Jerusalem. God provided the encourager Barnabas to help Paul.
Prayer: Father, I want to be an encourager for those who need uplifting. A helper for those I can.
Questions: How can you encourage those you encounter with problems? Whom have you found you can talk to when problems arise that you cannot overcome?
* Blue Letter Bible Dictionary, online, Acts.