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Posts Tagged ‘Barnabas’

Matthew 11:19: “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”
Mark 2:16-17: “And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.””

Garfield the cat was looking down at a caterpillar, who said (thought), “I’m going to be a butterfly”. “And just how are you going to do that?” Garfield asked. “Uh…” the caterpillar says, pauses, and then says, “I know a guy.” When I read that, I smiled, thinking that the caterpillar was referring to the Creator.

Back in my post of Acts 11:25-26, I used the “I know a guy” quote in the analogy of Barnabas and Paul. In society today, it seems like everyone “knows” someone who’s well-connected, has influence or power, or has favors. Garth Brooks turned this phrase on its ear with his old country ballad “Friends in Low Places”. However, when you think about it, it is always nice to know someone who can help you in situations where you cannot help yourself or achieve some goal by yourself.

The scoffers derided Jesus Christ out loud, saying he frequently was seen with “tax collectors and sinners”, the lowest of the low. Even in Mark 2:16-17, they question why He ate with them. How blessed are we sinners that Jesus didn’t separate Himself, but came to us, to save us, to pay our price, to redeem us. Our Messiah wasn’t some upper-crust rich snob who didn’t let himself be seen with those lower in class; instead, He reached out to us, as a Friend.

What a Friend we have in Jesus!

Something to think about.

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Verses 37-41: “Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”

One of the shows my family used to watch on Friday nights was The Dukes of Hazzard. It centered around cousins Bo and Luke Duke, their cousin Daisy, and their Uncle Jesse, living in fictitious Hazzard County in Georgia, spending most of their days foiling the comical plans of the corrupt county commissioner, J.D. “Boss” Hogg, and the bumbling Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane. In most all these plots, Bo and Luke were inseparable, having each other’s back while roaring around the county in their custom car, the General Lee. There was one 1980 episode, though, “Carnival of Thrills”, where Bo and Luke disagreed about Bo helping out a lady who ran a stunt show. She was trying to seduce Bo, and the rest of the family suspected foul play was afoot, since accidents had been dogging the show (it was in dire financial straits). Bo and Luke actually came to blows, fighting about who was right. For the first time since the Civil War, Duke was fighting Duke. In the end, Luke and the family saved Bo from another act of sabotage by the main culprit, Bo reconciled with the family, and Luke even helped Bo perform the stunt to save the show.

Would that all disagreements be easily resolved in the timespan of a TV show episode. You see, with the Jerusalem convention over, Paul and Barnabas decided to set out and visit the churches and to encourage them. Just one sticking point though: Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark, and Paul didn’t want to take along the one who had deserted them in their first missionary journey. Luke doesn’t go into detail, but states that the contention was so extreme between the two on this issue, that they agreed to part ways: Barnabas and John Mark would form one team, with Paul taking Silas for the other team. It seems ironic that a division threatened the early church and was resolved, yet these two partners in mission separated because of another division. However, God can work in all things for His good; from all sources I have read, maybe He intended that there be 2 teams to hit the evangelistic trail, and not just one.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verses 8-11: “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.”

Some years ago, my wife and I lived in another city and attended church there. We missed the business meeting one quarter where, among other items, they were going to discuss the renovation of the sanctuary. We had to miss the meeting, but asked others who had attended what happened. Well, most of the meeting was taken care of in about 10 minutes. The attendees then spent 90 minutes…yes, NINETY MINUTES…arguing about the color of the paint to be used on the pulpit walls. We were slacked-jawed; of all things up for what we thought would be serious discussion, the dominating topic was the color of the pulpit paint? I couldn’t believe my ears…then after some thought, I found that, yeah, I could believe my ears.

Peter, Paul, and Barnabas launched into the main topic of the convention here, and were determined to “keep the main thing, the main thing”. Peter reminded all gathered how God has showed him in a vision the very mission to the Gentiles, that they were to be presented the same Gospel that the apostles had heard, and the same opportunity to accept Jesus Christ and salvation through Him! Paul and Barnabas then gave detailed testimony on the fruits of their missionary journeys thus far and the souls that were saved. They wanted to make sure that the purpose of this meeting wasn’t to discuss the color of the paint (in this case, heretical add-ons to what it meant to be saved in Jesus). It was to establish firmly what they were there for…to carry out the Great Commission.

More to come!

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Verses 1-2: “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.”

When I was growing up, one of my favorite Rankin-Bass Christmas specials was The Year Without a Santa Claus. Probably the most memorable characters in that special were the feuding Miser brothers: Snow Miser, the cheery, frozen master of all things cold (thus he ruled the polar areas) and Heat Miser, the hot-tempered, combustible king of heat (who ruled the warm regions). Mrs. Claus was trying to convince a sick, tired, and depressed Santa that he hadn’t been forgotten by people. Her plan was to get Snow Miser to make it snow in Southtown; if the citizens saw snow there (where it hadn’t ever fallen), they’d whip up a parade and celebration for Santa. Unfortunately, Mrs. Claus had to secure the permission of Heat Miser to let it snow in his territory…which he would, IF…there’s always an “if”…he could make it warm for one day at the North Pole. Of course, both boys couldn’t compromise and resumed their feuding!

Mrs. Claus had had enough…and threatened to go “all the way to the top”. This put the fear into both of the Miser brothers; she was going to go to their mother! (Mother Nature, to be exact). For all their power and bravado, Mother Nature only had to remind them that SHE was in charge, and that they would do whatever she commanded. She was the authority, no question about it.

Here we have the situation of some Pharisees who did believe in Jesus, and came down to where Paul and Barnabas had been teaching. They were in agreement about faith in Jesus…plus some extras. They were insisting, to be saved, the Gentiles had to be circumcised like the Jews! Oh, boy. Talk about an argument! When Paul and Barnabas found out, it was probably a war of words to put the Miser brothers to shame. And, in this case, the result was similar: Paul, Barnabas, and some others were sent to Jerusalem, still considered the center of the Christian church in the known world. Paul and Barnabas knew they had to get support to stop this heresy…and they did…in what you might call the church’s first big convention and business meeting!

More to come!

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Verse 27: “Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”

1 of 2 things always happens when you get back from a trip (sometimes even both things):

1. Everyone is always asking how your trip was: what did you see? who did you meet? Anything interesting happen? got any pictures? Everybody wants a report of what you encountered.
2. Even if no one asks, you’re still anxious to tell folks what happened…the good times, the interesting things, even bad things that happened, oh, and don’t forget the photos! (In my day, we had to endure the carousel of…photo slides…from trips!)

So that was also in common with Paul and Barnabas’s first missionary trip. Boy, what a trip! Even where Paul and Barnabas had encountered resistance (Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch) they still swung back by to strengthen the disciples there and help set up elders in each church. They went through Derbe, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga, Attalia, and then back home. If Paul and Barnabas had carried suitcases like you and I are used to, they’d be covered in stickers of all the places they visited (at least, that’s what we used to do in my day.) In this case, both things happened when they returned to Antioch: the church wanted to hear how their journey went, and Paul and Barnabas were eager to give their report.

This wouldn’t be the first “road trip” for these two, but it left a lasting impression on the spread of the Gospel in the early years of Christianity.

So…do you have a report to give about witnessing for Jesus? Or is it time to get busy?

Something to think about.

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Verses 19-20: “Then the Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.”

Years ago, there appeared on television a reunion movie of the old series, The Wild Wild West. It was called The Wild Wild West Revisited. The central plot concerned agents Jim West and Artemus Gordon (played by Robert Conrad and Ross Martin); they were called out of retirement to combat the threat of the son of their greatest arch-enemy, Dr. Miguelito Loveless (played originally by the brilliant Michael Dunn). Dr. Miguelito Loveless Jr. (played wonderfully by Paul Williams) was trying to replace the world’s leaders with robot duplicates that he would control; he had even created the first “atomic bomb” as part of his arsenal.

During the pursuit of the main plot, there always appeared the same young gunslinger, who was trying to challenge the shooting talents of West. This guy was more comic villainy than real threat: West threw his guns away once, then on another occasion, Gordon tripped him up and subdued him. Towards the very end of the movie, as Jim and Artie were making their way towards their famous train to leave, here he came again (“go for your guns, Mr. West!”) Artie was so tired of this he actually said, “Oh no, not again! Look, I’ve had enough, you take care of this!” as he sat down on a bench. Jim walked deliberately toward him, sternly saying “give me your gun!” The gunslinger bewilderedly replied, “You’re not going to throw them away again, are you?” “No, I’m not”, Jim said. Taking the gun, he pointed it at a saloon’s sign across the street; never taking his eye off the gunslinger, he said, “Now, watch.” West then fanned the gun at high speed, striking every light atop the saloon sign, without taking his eyes off the young man. Stupefied, the young gunslinger took the gun back as West handed it to him; West calmly said, “Now…do you REALLY want to draw on me???” “Uh…no sir, no sir!” said the gunslinger. “Good.” West replied; “now, why don’t you find yourself a nice girl and settle down.” Looking at him wearily he added, “and leave me alone.” With that West and Gordon walked off to their train and the end of the movie.

The relentless pursuit of the young gun after West was done for comic relief, but there was nothing comical about the relentless pursuit of the Jews after Paul and Barnabas. They actually travelled all the way from Antioch and Iconium just to stick their noses in the missionaries’ ministry in Lystra! They got the crowd riled up enough to stone Paul; thinking him dead, they dragged him outside of the city. Paul, though, was not dead (although you’d be unconscious too from a bunch of rocks being beaned off of you!). He went back into the city, and left with Barnabas the next day to go to Derbe.

Christianity is still opposed today; sometimes just as violently (if not more so) then back then. There will always be those who oppose the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ Himself even told the disciples as much when He walked on this planet. But like the disciples of long ago, we can’t give up; we have our hope and faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, and we know in the end, He wins! In the meantime, keep on keeping on, with the Good News.

Something to think about.

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Verses 11, 14: “Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”” “But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out”

One of the classic episodes of the old television anthology series, The Twilight Zone, was one entitled “To Serve Man”. The tale was told in flashback by a government cryptographer named Michael Chambers, played by Lloyd Bochner; he detailed the historic meeting of aliens that had come to Earth and shared their technology and secrets to help humanity. Eventually they got the world’s peoples to begin immigrating back and forth from our world to theirs. They left a book written in their language, that Chambers’ department was trying to translate. A woman named Patty on Chambers’ staff had only managed to translate the title: “To Serve Man”. They assumed it was a friendly gesture to serve man as friends, advisors, and consultants. It wasn’t until the climax, as Chambers is about to board one of the flying saucers for his trip to their planet, that Patty frantically tries to get to him. He is confused as he sees her incredibly upset and wild-eyed. He finally manages to hear her scream, “Mr. Chambers, don’t get on that ship! The rest of the book To Serve Man, it’s… it’s a cookbook!” Too late, Chambers and the human race discover that they are nothing more than a food source to the aliens, who they have all but handed the planet over to. (For more information on the plot, you can go to this Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Serve_Man_(The_Twilight_Zone)

What I remember most about this scene is the horrified look on the woman’s face, and then on the man’s face, as they realize the truth of what is really happening. The couldn’t understand the aliens’ language before; only when the true intentions were released did they react in the pure emotion that you and I would expect.

Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra, when Paul healed a lame man through Jesus’s power. The populace, overwhelming Greek in their culture, reacted in a way Paul and Barnabas had not encountered yet; they were calling the apostles gods! Due to not understanding the local dialect, Paul and Barnabas didn’t fully understand at first the reactions; but when the crowd began pressing the pagan priests for sacrifices in the apostles’ names, the two missionaries reacted with shock and horror, and leapt into action, trying to make them understand. This was further complicated by the Jews from the prior towns, as we’ll see next time. It should be pointed out (and I read this in a footnote somewhere) that unlike Herod, who didn’t stop the crowd from calling him a god, Paul and Barnabas, once they realized what was going on, didn’t hesitate to set the townsfolk straight on Who really should’ve been worshipped.

As a preacher once titled his sermon, “Expect the Unexpected”:  be ready for all that the devil throws our way…some of it we prepare for, and others we may not expect. But God has it all covered; we just need to be true to acknowledging the Author who is to be worshipped!

Something to think about.

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