Barnabas was weary. Tired. Exhausted. A pebble that had lodged in-between his heel and sandal had caused an aching gash in his foot. He just wanted to lie down and get some sleep.
But first he had to do what the church in Jerusalem had sent him to do.
Determine if the occurrences in Antioch were "Godly."
Thankfully, he was almost to the church.
Turning the corner, he spied a man. The man started waving, and jogged to meet him. "Are you Barnabas?"
"Good. Come see for yourself." The man spoke with a slightly condemning tone. Clearly, he didn't approve. He all but dragged Barnabas down the street, stopping every few feet and waving him to come faster. Finally the man stopped in front of a door, and threw it open. He let Barnabas step inside first to see.
But Barnabas didn't see. What exactly was the problem?
"Well," the angry man said. "What are you going to do about this?"
"About what? Barnabas didn't see a problem. They had just interrupted a teaching. After everyone glanced at them, they turned back to the speaker, completely riveted. The teacher wasn't saying anything blasphemous either.
The man hissed as he motioned towards the group. "Those people are not Jews!"
Upon closer inspection Barnabas could see that, no, they weren't Jews. Barnabas also noticed the speaker was teaching solely in Greek, probably so everyone present could understand. As Barnabas watched the scene, a smile broke out across his lips. It was happening. God's will was happening.
A hand waved in front of his face. The distraught man stood looking indignant. "Aren't you going to do something about this?"
He clapped the other man on the shoulder. "No, friend. God is. This is all God."
Based on Acts 11:23
"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." Acts 11:19-24
So many people were fighting this new revelation from God. Gentiles as Christians? Gentiles also saved by God's grace? They had ignored the times that Jesus had interacted, healed, and saved people other then the Jews. They didn't want to see the good, full plan that God had in store for the world.
Then some awesome dudes went and preached the Gospel to people who weren't Jews. "Hellenist," as defined by my Bible, were Greek-speaking, non-Jews. They got saved. And when Barnabas got to Antioch and saw all the awesome stuff God was doing, his first response was NOT to question if it was really God's will.
He was glad.
In that moment, he saw God's awesome plan to save the world. He saw people who had no hope, no life, no chance, being given everything. He saw the fullness of God's grace and mercy, and he was glad.
I just wonder, what side I would have been on back then...and I don't know. There are so many factors, that there's no way for me to know. I'm just grateful that I have the benefit of learning from that time and those people. But none of that matters if I can't learn to see God's big picture, and rejoice in it. Like Barnabas.
So the question is, are we fighting God's will, or are we rejoicing in it?
V. Joy Palmer