For today’s feast, we remember the Apostle Barnabas. Our devotion focuses on the reading from Acts and is from LifeLight: Acts, Part 1—Leaders Guide.
Acts 11:19–30, 13:1–3
Stephen’s death and the subsequent persecution led Christians to migrate to scattered cities along the Mediterranean, such as Tyre, Sidon, and Ptolemais; to the island of Cyprus; to the large city of Antioch, the capital of Syria and a future center of Christianity. Everywhere these early Christians went they talked about the message of God’s love in Christ. Jewish Christians, natives of Cyprus and Cyrene, began to seek out pagan Greeks and speak to them about Jesus. Undoubtedly, these Cyprians and Cyrenians had heard what Peter had done in Caesarea and the result of the meeting in Jerusalem, and that was all the incentive they needed.
Anxious that these new Gentile believers know that they were fully accepted into the one Christian church, the Jerusalem congregation decided to send their greetings and blessing to new believers in Antioch. All eyes turned to Barnabas. Not only was he “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:24), but he had another qualification that made him just the right person for the job—he was a native-born Cyprian, just as some of those who had taken the Gospel to Antioch were (11:20). All this, of course, was neatly set in motion by God.
Barnabas set out on the long journey to Antioch. Verse 23—God’s grace at work through these men produced the rich harvest Barnabas saw. Growth in the church, however large or small, is strictly and solely by the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit through the spoken and written Word.
Verse 25—Prompted by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas set out on the trip of a hundred miles or so to find Saul, his close friend. Verse 26—For a full year, they immersed themselves in teaching the Good News about Jesus to “a great many people,” and the Holy Spirit continued to bring in a large harvest. It was here in Antioch that the word Christian was applied to the believers. This word is used two more times in the New Testament—in Acts 26:28 and in 1 Peter 4:16.
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Spirit, alive and at work within me and all Your children. Let the light of Your Spirit burn so brightly that everyone may see our Lord Jesus Christ reflected in what we say and what we do and how we do it. Let the light of Your Spirit burn so brightly that everyone may see our unity in You, our common commitment to sharing Your saving love, until, at last, your kingdom comes. Amen.
Devotional reading is adapted from LifeLight: Acts, Part 1—Leaders Guide, page 44 © 1993, 2004 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Prayer is from LifeLight: Acts, Part 1—Enrichment Magazine/Study Guide, Session 9 © 2001 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.