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My favorite character in the New Testament, other than Jesus, of course, is Joseph of Cyprus. You haven’t heard of him? Well, perhaps you know him by his nickname, Barnabas. He was the traveling companion of the apostle Paul. But there is so much more to his story told in the book of Acts.
First, he was called Barnabas because that means “son of encouragement.” He was always serving and encouraging others. He sold land and donated the money to feed the hungry. When Saul, who had viciously persecuted Christians, came to Jerusalem claiming to be a new follower of Jesus, Barnabas vouched for him and brought him to the apostles.
Later, the apostles sent Barnabas to Antioch because the church was growing rapidly and needed leaders. When he arrived and saw the need, Barnabas left and found Saul and encouraged him to come and help. Eventually, Barnabas and Saul were sent by the Antioch church to be missionaries to Cyprus and Asia Minor. On that trip, Saul became known as Paul. Barnabas also stepped back to let Paul lead the team. During this trip, one of their traveling companions, John Mark, abandoned the team. Later, Paul and Barnabas parted ways over whether to take Mark on their second journey. Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance and Paul did not. Mark would later write the book of Mark.
Why is Barnabus a favorite? Because I hope to encourage others like he did.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.