May 16, 2022

Acts 4:36, 37 Joseph, called by the apostles “Barnabas” (which means “Son of Comfort”), a Levite born in Cyprus, sold a field that he owned, brought the money, and made an offering of it to the apostles. (The Message Bible)

Barnabas comes back into the story a little later as one of Paul’s missionary traveling companions, but it is interesting to see, as Luke notes here, that his given name was Joseph. Joseph was one of Jacob’s twelve sons which became the twelve tribes of Israel and many of the last chapters of the book of Genesis revolve around him. Barnabas was a Levite we are told. According to Wikipedia, “Levites, were the priests, who performed the work of holiness in the Temple” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levite). So, he was a good Jewish man with a good Jewish name. But he became known as “Barnabas” (which means “Son of Comfort”) or, as another version translates it, “Son of Encouragement” (NIV). You may have had a nickname as a kid which came from a physical characteristic or other aspect of your life. What would it be like to be a son or daughter of comfort or encouragement? I’m guessing they felt he possessed the same qualities of comfort and encouragement that his heavenly father has. I’d like to hang out with someone like that! 

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