tirsdag 7. juni 2016

The effects of the Holy Spirit on Joseph

It could have been an interesting theme for a study of the Old Testament's Josepf, but I am not referring to the son of Jacob, who became 'the savior of Egypt' and was elevated to a high position in the country. Nor does the headling refer to Joseph who had the role as the earthly father of Jesus, but the reference is to Joseph the Levite. 

If the context had not been Acts, I would be surprised if everyone straight away could say: "Oh yes, I know who he is!” - and I do not think it would help if I told that he was from Cyprus. But many of us will know him in by his nickname: Barnabas (1). I guess that he got the name because of the effect of the Holy Spirit on his life.

Still - we know surprisingly little about Barnabas compared to what we know about his companion Paul. He arrives on the scene early, and is one of those who sold a field he owned and brought the money to the community. In his case, I think it was an appropriate and important choice - Acts 4:36-37.

It was Barnabas who believed in Paul introduced him to the apostles - Acts 9:27. Although he was not a “man of the word” in the same way as Paul, he must have made an impression on those who met him. When they were taken to be the gods Zeus and Hermes, it was Barnabas the people took for Zeus, the supreme deity in Roman mythology - Acts 14:12.

Nevertheless, he remains relatively anonymous. But the major lesson I can learn from him is that he always took the weak party. And I firmly believe that to take the side of the weak is an effect of the Holy Spirit.

I see it in at least three episodes in the ministry of Barnabas. The first two have already been mentioned:

  1. He sold the field and gave the money to the community that no one should suffer distress.
  2. He supported Paul when he was newly saved, vulnerable, persecuted by Jews and suspicion among the Christians.
  3. He stood up for John Mark and gave him a second chance after he had left "mission team" on the first journey - Acts 15:36-41.
So - who was Barnabas?
It was he who stood up for the weak! 
No wonder he was called 'son of encouragement'.

'Manna' for today:
 Ta stand up for the weak is an effect of the Holy Spirit
(1) Barnabas means “son of encouragement”

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