Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Our reading in Acts 11 for the day of St. Barnabas introduces us to Barnabas, caling him "a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith" (v. 24, ESV). Barnabas not only introduced Saul to the Christians in Antioch, later becoming a common traveling companion of Paul, he also served an important purpose among the earliest Christians. He was the one appointed by the leaders in Jerusalem to find out whether the reports of Hellenists believing on Jesus were true. At that time there was still considerable question whether non-Jewish people could actually become Christians. Barnabas verified that indeed they could.
In this way, Barnabas was the point man who represented to the whole Church that the Gospel was for all nations, regardless of whether they had previously been converted to Judaism. It was an incredibly important realization, which has motivated world mission to this day.
Yes, the Gospel is for everyone. There is no people group, no language, no ethnicity, no place of origin where it would be inappropriate to deliver the message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ!
The realization of Barnabas also prohibits Christians from any sort of racist or xenophobic attitudes. If people from every background are to receive the grace of God, they most certainly are to receive our kindness as we express the love God has shed on us through Christ.
May we have grace to be like Barnabas, seeing clearly what Christ has done in every nation!
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