Peter explains his actions to the Church leaders. Persecution spreads the gospel
- Peter often does things in threes (v 16)!
- People heard the message, received the Holy Spirit and then were baptised (vv 44-48). Can this tell us anything about the nature of proclamation, salvation and baptism?
- Why were the Jewish believers so surprised that Gentiles were being saved?
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Going Deeper from 'Words of Life'
His name means ‘son of encouragement’. People saw him as warm, kind; one who was considerate, having an empathetic heart. Barnabas was an encourager. He was probably one of the 70 sent out by Jesus; one of the 500 who saw the risen Christ. Being a Greek-speaking Jew from Cyprus, it’s likely he stayed in Jerusalem following Pentecost to help carry on the Christian mission.
He sold his land on Cyprus, bringing the full amount of the proceeds to the church – helping to alleviate temporal needs. Barnabas was generous, helping the poor. He encouraged others to do likewise.
When the new believers began to scatter due to persecution, they still desired to preach. Many spoke to Jews, desperately trying to convince them about God’s redemptive story. Some, however, reached out to Gentiles – like those in Antioch, the capital of Syria. The leaders in Jerusalem were somewhat sceptical, commissioning Barnabas to investigate. It speaks of their thoughts about this man – a man of integrity, held in high esteem; a man they fully trusted.
Barnabas soon saw that a new era had dawned. People were being converted, without having to submit to Jewish customs and ceremony. He knew God was in this, so encouraged the new believers to stay true to their convictions, their conversion:
… he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts (v 23).
To be an encourager. What a gift! What an important quality we each need to embrace, as we interact with others.
Select someone who would greatly benefit from a word of encouragement.
As you encourage them, don’t be surprised if you also are blessed.
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