Acts 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
vs 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
What sort of a word is ‘consolation’? By definition it means the act of consoling, comfort. The synonyms are: relief, help support, cheer, encouragement. In other words this is a good thing and one that is much needed.
Often when we think of Barnabas we call him the son of encouragement. That word encouragement just seems to be the sum total of all of those words, just as consolation is, only in a more familiar word. And Barnabas was certainly that to everyone it seems he met. When we first met him in the Bible it was in this passage of scripture. Here in the early stages of the early church comes a man who did what others were doing as well. He had property in this world that meant little to him in comparison with heaven and wanted to be a help so he sold it as others had also done and brought it to the apostles to help the less fortunate.
What made him stand out from the crowd. Others had also sold property and given the money to the early church (v34). If he did nothing different from the rest than it must be the one who received from him that he stood out with. As we read further on in the book of Acts we see him teamed up with Paul and going on missionary trips. So we know he stood out to God. Good news there, anyone who gives from the heart and uses their faith in Jesus to advance the Gospel stands out to God!
Humanly speaking, while we don’t know which individuals he stood out too, we know he did because we are told he was given a new name to reflect this (Joses to Barnabas).
When Saul of Tarsus (later to be known as Paul the Apostle) first came to Jerusalem he arrived with a very bad reputation. No one wanted anything to do with him for fear it was a trap. But along came Barnabas the son of encouragement who in Acts 9:27 came to Saul and brought him personally to the apostles. With this act he used his own life and testimony as collateral to show that Saul could indeed be trusted. Thus he helped to support and encourage the future apostle and missionary.
Then in Acts 15:37-39 we see Barnabas once again standing up in support of someone with a bad reputation. Previously in Acts 13:13 John Mark had turned his back on Barnabas and Paul during their first missionary trip and went home. Since that time however John Mark had gotten right with God and wanted another chance. Paul wasn’t willing to give it to him but Barnabas was. And it came to the point where this great missionary team was split in two over it. But Barnabas was the son of encouragement and he was going to live up to his name.
As a result of Barnabas encouraging John Mark, John Mark later it seems was teamed up with Simon Peter (1 Peter 5:13) who we believe was his source material for the Gospel According to Mark. At some point his relationship with Paul was restored and Paul was able to recommend John Mark to the brethren (Colossians 4:10). The work encouragement John Mark received from Barnabas worked so well that when Paul was facing his own execution he just had have John Mark brought to him because he recognized that “he is profitable to me for the ministry” 2 Timothy 4:11.
We may never know who we have encouraged with our lives. Case in point we just don’t know who Barnabas stuck out to that day that he was renamed. But someone encouraged him that day by giving him that new name. It was a little deed and it had some measure of effect on Barnabas’ life. Often the big things in life are actually started by a small deed. Something that nurtured a seed so that it would grow large and have a vast unknown effect on countless others.
1 Corinthians 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” One person plants a seed and another person takes care of it. Perhaps someone else comes along and does a little something else along the way to help encourage it. All of which God is using to make something great.
Today I received my first order of my book and it became reality for me. A few weeks ago I saw the final typeset of the book and was taken back by how real it had suddenly become. Then a couple of weeks ago I received my free copies of the book to use for marketing purposes and got very excited. For a weeks now the book has been available on different websites and as an e-book, but for me with this first order it is finally real. Names and faces have come to mind who have in their own little way given some encouragement to make this happen. I am grateful for those who have taught me both the Bible, how to write, type, and use a computer. Many have given money, prayers, and shared my blog posts in an effort to encourage me and the book. Some who have brought me to this point in my life have even gone off into eternity not knowing the impact that they had on me. But I thank each and everyone especially my Savior Jesus Christ for this opportunity.
Also my book can be found on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Alibris.com, Booksamillion.com, and Sermonaudio.com under the Sonrise Baptist Church Bookstore.
The Amazing Acts by: Ivor Powell