A situation develops of a disagreement in opinion, and sometimes it gets a little explosive. People who are intent that it is of significance; others are ready to say “let it go”. Then, there are those who feel that in time it will show itself to be either good or bad, just let it sit in the wings.
Saul of Tarsus had been gloriously saved on the Damascus Road. We read in Acts 8 the details of this highly educated, murderer persecuting the church. In Acts 9 we see him continuing his efforts to destroy the “disciples of the Lord”. (9:1) As he approached Damascus, we have the story of his conversion and his becoming a disciple of Christ. It was a traumatic experience as God spoke to him directly.
God confirms his experience through the “disciple in Damascus named Ananias;” With his background, Saul is able to visualize that prophecy has been fulfilled and that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah. He immediately began to “proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God”.”
THEN, he makes a trip to Jerusalem! As he endeavors to associate with the disciples, “they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.” “But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.” (9:27)
Give us more men like Barnabas. He steps in where others would be afraid to speak. He shares what God has been doing through Paul. “He had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.”
Barnabas quietly presents Paul to the disciples. There is no more argument or fear, obviously the confidence displayed is such that the other disciples are moved by the word from Barnabas. That is testimony to the demeanor with which he spoke. When you look at the meaning of his name, “son of encouragement”, and then, Acts 11:22-23, “The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas off to Antioch. Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord; for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.”
What a steadfast testimony Barnabas had in the formation of the early church!