Today is the Feast of St. Barnabas. Barnabas was a Jew from Cyprus and was the cousin of John Mark (Colossians 4:10). He was responsible for bringing Paul from Tarsus (Acts 11:25-26) and the two of them worked in Antioch. While in Antioch, Barnabas and Paul were commissioned by the Holy Spirit to go on the first missionary journey to Cyprus and Asia Minor (Acts 13:1-3). When it came time for the second missionary journey, Paul did not want to take John Mark because he had left them and had gone home during the first journey (Acts 13:13; 15:36-41). Paul and Barnabas parted as Barnabas took John Mark and went to Cyprus, while Paul took Silas and went to Asia Minor. Barnabas is remembered as a tireless missionary who proclaimed Christ to the Gentiles.
Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.
Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
(Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3 ESV)
Collect of the Day:
Almighty God, your faithful servant Barnabas sought not his own renown but gave generously of his life and substance for the encouragement of the apostles and their ministry. Grant that we may follow his example in lives given to charity and the proclamation of the Gospel; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.