I wonder if I’ll ever get to the point where I’ll stop learning new lessons from the Bible.
Probably not. At least I hope not.
The kooky thing I’ve just noticed is that these little epiphanies almost never come to me when I actively seek them out. It’s only when I’m listening, rather than deliberately searching, that they’re revealed to me.
Maybe that’s because, in my clumsy and immature approach to seeking, I act like it’s all up to me, while listening puts God in the driver’s seat. Not that I’m anti-seek, or that I’m going to stop seeking – it’s pretty clear that I need to work on my seeknique. But in the meantime, I’ll continue to be wowed by what God chooses to reveal to me in spite of the incompetence of my efforts.
Anyhoo, three new truths were revealed to me in recent weeks, and I thought I’d share them. None of them are ‘Baldyisms’ that I can lay claim to having arrived at myself while studying the Bible directly – they all came from sermons I listened to – but since few people listen to as many sermons as I do, I thought I’d share them.
This was going to be one post, but it got a little lengthy (ya don’t say, Baldy!), so I’ve decided to split it into a three-part series.
Today, let’s talk about Barnabas…
Mars Hill Bible Church youth pastor Steve Argue gave a sermon on January 22 called Antioch Churching, Christians and Flash Mobs (check it out on iTunes if you’re interested). It contained a lot of ‘Mars Hill! Rah-rah-rah!’ stuff I didn’t really connect with, but there were some nifty bits – he talks about the word ‘church’ as a verb, for one thing. (Interestingly, Google Translate says chercher in French means to seek. Hmm….)
But my favorite part of the Flash Mobs sermon came when Steve pointed out the pivotal nature of a guy by the name of Barnabas.
Not because he founded the Cypriot Church, or because he and the Apostle Paul worked in tandem for many years throughout their mobile ministry, or because he was a heckuvan apostle in his own right. Not to downplay any of that, but what interested Steve the most about Barnabas is twofold:
- Barnabas is the guy who vouched for a Pharisee-turned-überChristian named Saul of Tarsus after the latter’s Road to Damascus (Acts 9) experience.
- Paul and Barnabas worked together for many years, but their partnership finally busted up when Barnabas wanted to bring a young apostle named John Mark along on an upcoming journey. Paul ‘…did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company.’ – Acts 15:35-40.
I guess Barnabas felt pretty strongly about John Mark and his worth. It must have been a pretty big issue, considering what Paul and Barney had been through together.
If not for Barnabas, would the rest of the early church ever have given Paul the time of day? Then, years later, if he’d given in to Paul and also given John Mark the cold shoulder, what would have become of him?
Paul wrote most of the letters in the New Testament; John Mark is believed to have written the Gospel of Mark – and some scholars theorize that this work was the first Gospel written, and it was even used as a reference for the gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Therefore, how much of the New Testament do we owe to the willingness of St. Barnabas to stand up for – and to – his friends, on God’s behalf?
I don’t know about you, but I want to be like Barnabas.
Peace be with you.