Acts is a book of the history of the early church. It tells us what happened after the resurrection of Jesus. For 40 days after the resurrection, Jesus showed himself alive. Then he ascended into Heaven and the believers received the Holy Spirit.
When we study the Bible, it is good to look at the verses around the scripture that we are studying to get the full impact of what we are reading. We are going to look at some scripture about Barnabas. Let’s also look at what is happening before and after these verses.
Barnabas means son of consolation (or encouragement).
Before: vs 32, 34-35 In the early church, the believers were in one accord – like-minded (of one heart and of one mind) Those who had possessions sold them and brought the money to the apostles, the apostles distributed the money to those who had need.
Now: Barnabas sold his land and laid the money at the apostles feet to support the believers.
After: vs 5:1-11 Ananias and Sapphira sold land and gave a portion of the money to the church but they said they were giving ALL of the money from the sell of the land. God struck them down. Paul said the land was theirs to keep or to sell. The money was theirs to keep or to give. They lied not to men, but to God
Lesson: So we see the difference between Barnabas giving wholly and with a true spirit of giving, while Ananias and Sapphira gave to be seen of men but they really wanted to keep the money for themselves.
BARNABAS SPOKE UP FOR PAUL
Before: Acts 9:1-2 Saul was trying to kill all of the believers. He believed they were doing wrong in believing in Jesus. He gained permission to go to Damascus and to arrest believers and to bring them bound to Jerusalem to be punished. On the way to Damascus, Saul had a personal encounter with the Lord, and HE became a believer himself. He preached in Damascus, then left to go to Jerusalem to join himself with the disciples. But the disciples were afraid of Saul. This was the man who had been hunting down believers and having them stoned. They were SCARED.
Now: Barnabas believed in Saul (now Paul) and spoke up for him and said Paul was a changed man.
After: The church accepted Paul into their group and then sent him to Tarsus to minister there.
Lesson: Don’t we need a Barnabas in our lives sometime? Someone to say, I know what he’s done, but don’t be afraid to trust him.
BARNABAS WAS SENT TO ANTIOCH
Before: vs 20-21 The Gentiles received the Holy Spirit and some believers came to Antioch and started preaching Jesus to the Gentiles/Greeks/Grecians. Many of them believed.
Now: So the church at Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch to find out firsthand what was going on, and if it was of God.
After: vs 23-24 Barnabas went to Antioch, he realized that it was true that God had extended his grace to the Gentiles. He was glad and encouraged the new believers to cling to God.
Then: vs 25-26 He went to Tarsus to get Paul and they remained together at Antioch for a whole year. The believers were called Christians first in Antioch.
Lesson: Barnabas must have been trusted to have a discerning spirit.
BARNABAS SPOKE UP FOR JOHN MARK
John Mark is the nephew of Barnabas – Colossians 4:10
Before: Acts 13:13 John Mark was with Paul when Paul set out on a trip. John Mark turned back.
Now: Paul says to Barnabas, Let us go and visit the brethren in every city where we have preached. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, but Paul didn’t want to take John Mark because he had turned back on the other trip. Paul and Barnabas could not agree. Barnabas took John Mark and went to one area. Paul chose Silas and went to a different area.
After: 2Timothy 4:11 Paul tells Timothy to come to him and bring John Mark “for he is useful to me for the ministry.”
Philemon 1:24 Paul ends his letter to Philemon with greetings from his “fellow laborers.” John Mark is included on the list of laborers.
Lesson: Again we see Barnabas standing up for someone. He knew what John Mark had done, but Barnabas was willing to give him a second chance. Barnabas was willing to take John Mark along and give him another opportunity for ministry. And John Mark did become a useful part of the ministry. He was later useful to Paul. John Mark is also the writer of the Gospel of Mark.