Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reveals three reasons why two persons are better than one: they will be more successful in life, If one falls, the one standing could assist the other to rise, they can keep each other warm, and together they can better resist an enemy. Jesus affirmed this reality in His ministry. According to Matthew’s record, Jesus being alone, fasted forty days and nights and was tested by the devil. At the end of His testing, He heard that the one that introduced Him to the people that came to John the Baptist to be baptized, was arrested, and placed in prison. Jesus left Nazareth and went to the place of Zebulun and Naphtali to begin His ministry and immediately began choosing His disciple (Matthew 4:12-22). Jesus did not carry out His ministry as an individual but rather He had a team of men plus women that assist in providing for the ministry (Luke 8:1-3). The church began when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the one hundred and twenty persons in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. It would appear, that the Lord did not encourage His church to be controlled by lone rangers. There was no doubt that Jesus appeared to Saul and Saul had a genuine conversion experience. That the Lord Jesus chose him as a chosen instrument and supernaturally delivered him from the Jews that were seeking to kill him, by letting Saul down in a basket through a hole in the wall (Acts 9:23-25). It is clear from the very beginning of Saul’s conversion that the Lord Jesus made it clear that it was not His will for Saul/Paul to conceive the idea that it was His will for Paul to carry out His ministry as an individual. When the Jews had cemented their plot to do away with Paul. The Lord caused someone to reveal it to Paul and used His disciples to find a way to by-pass the traps that the Jews had set up to kill Paul. The Lord made away of escape by providing a basket that was strong to sustain Paul and a place where there was a hole in the way where the disciples were (Acts 9:25). Paul leaves Damascus and finds his way to Jerusalem. No doubt feeling confident that the apostles would have accepted him with a big welcome. This man that was highly qualified and understood the Old Testament and could have been a great asset to the church. The bible tells us that when Paul came to Jerusalem, he was attempting to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him (Acts 9:26). In other words, they could not trust him. They did not believe that he was a disciple. The Lord promised that He will make a way where there seems to be no way. God’s chosen instrument suddenly found himself in the middle of the ocean without a way to get ashore. The people he inspired to stone Stephen and began killing Christians, accelerated his position on the Sanhedrin Council. However, now that he met the Lord Jesus, His zeal to be the best at what he did, did not depart from him. Only that the way up in God’s kingdom is by being down on one’s knees. The Lord used the fear of Paul on the apostles to reject him from associating with them. At that point, the powerful Saul found himself without the ability to go forward in the church at Jerusalem and he knew, he could not return to Damascus. Paul did not need a way of escape; he needed a way forward. God who can make a way where there seems to be no way provided the son of consolation. “And Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostle (which translated means, Son of Encouragement), and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostle’s feet” (Acts 4:36-37). We are introduced to this instrument of God in the early church. The Lord positioned him to be the way forward for the apostle Paul to the apostles, the early church in Jerusalem, and to the early church to the gentile world. One of the premises of scripture is to go from the known to the unknown. Joseph was born in Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea between Israel and Turkey, Paul was born in Turkey. They had parents that were financially well. They were living in Jerusalem. Barnabas heard the gospel and became a member of the early church. Paul was educated in the temple and became a hater of the church. Barnabas was known for his contribution and his willingness to be of assistance, Paul was known for his education. The Lord brings persons with different perspectives into His church. We must look to Him to coordinate them for the furtherance of His kingdom. Barnabas used his gift to provide financial assistance to encourage the poor and his testimony as an encourager to encourage the apostles to receive Paul. Which laid the groundwork for the Holy Spirit to separate Barnabas and Paul to be the first missionaries to the gentiles (Acts 13:1-5). To every Paul Jehovah will provide a Barnabas.
Rev. Dr. Alfred S. Cockfield Sr.
God’s Battalion of Prayer Church Inc.