St. Barnabas

Rabbi Barnabas, born a Levite, of Jewish parents in the Island of Cyprus, was Rabbi Paul’s frequent travel companion whom Rabbi Lucas once called a shaliakh Acts 14:14. Therefore, like Rabbi Paul, Rabbi Barnabas is ranked with the shlikhim but not one of the original twelve.

Rabbi Barnabas spent much time in Jerusalem, probably even before the Crucifixion of Our Lord, and appears also to have settled there (where his relatives, the family of Rabbi Marcus, lived Acts 12:12).

His original name was Joseph, but after he sold a field that belonged to him and placed the money at their feet, the delighted shlikhim called him Barnabas, “son of encouragement” Acts 4:3637.

After Rabbi Paul’s conversion Acts 9:56, many early Christians remembered that he had been a fierce enemy of the Church Acts 9:1 and were afraid of him. Ananias had prayed, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon your name” Acts 9:1314. But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” Acts 9:1516. Rabbi Barnabas also spoke up for Rabbi Paul. “But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus” Acts 9:27. In fact, after Ananias, Rabbi Paul had evidently seen only Rabbi Kefa and Rabbi Yaakov Gal 1:1819. Their great credibility overcame all the concerns, and Rabbi Paul became Christianity’s greatest evangelist to the Gentiles.

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