‘The person without the Spirit, does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God.’ 1 Corinthians 2:14a
When the disciples in Jerusalem heard that in Antioch a great number of gentiles had turned to the Lord Jesus, they sent a capable brother from their midst to help out. Very understandable! For, after all, what could those gentiles understand of the gospel without good guidance? They did, indeed, send a very capable brother: Barnabas. When he arrived in Antioch and met the brothers and sisters of this young church, he was glad. What was the reason for his joy?
We read it in this passage: ‘When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done…’ (:23). Barnabas saw the grace of God among these gentile brothers and sisters. He did not ask for their doctrine or system of belief, he arrived there and saw something most of us cannot recognize anymore: the grace of God among these people.
If we are spiritual people, we will be able to distinguish between spiritual matters, but if we are still living in the flesh, we will seek confirmation in outward things and we will easily pass by the blessings of God. As spiritual people, we will learn again to judge with a judgment inspired by God. With such judgment, we will not destroy each other, on the contrary, we will encourage each other more and more to remain true to the Lord with all our hearts.
Let us therefore pray to God for such reliable men as Barnabas. For such men will not get upset so easily when they meet people who, perhaps, serve God differently from what they are used to. For when they clearly experience God’s presence among these people, they will not doubt that God - Who began a good work in these people - will carry it on to completion.