The church at Antioch had just finished the meal when an elder, a man with stooped shoulders, pushed back his chair and stood up. He held up his hands for quiet and looked around at the group.
“Brothers and sisters, we have just received some good news from the church in Jerusalem. They’re sending someone to help us,” he said.
Everyone talked at once. The voices of the fifteen believers blended into a loud roar throughout the home’s one-room living area.
A deep booming voice shouted above the clamor, “Who are they sending? One of the apostles, like Peter or John?”
The group all spoke at once, agreeing with the man’s choices, but also giving their opinion on which of the two would be their personal favorites. There was an underlying fervor to see other believers and hear their testimonies.
The elder laughed and shook his head at the commotion. He motioned with his hands, quieting the assembly.
“No – not Peter or John. A man named Barnabas should be arriving in a few days. He’s a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. We will be blessed by his visit.”
Everyone sat quiet for a few moments. No one had heard of Barnabas.
One young believer leaned over to his dark haired wife.
“What do you think Barnabas will say?” he whispered.
A week later, Barnabas stood on the deck of the Roman merchant ship as it approached the wharf in Antioch. He saw ships with Italian olive oil being unloaded on one side of the harbor while other ships were being loaded with Syrian grain on another side. A Roman navy trireme sat anchored to a dock with its three tiers of oars out of the water. A cohort of Roman soldiers watched over the dock.
The three hundred mile cruise had been uneventful with no storms and only gentle breezes propelling the ship. But still, Barnabas appeared eager, almost antsy, to step onto dry land once again. He had spent the three-day trip, pacing back and forth on the galley’s deck, oblivious to everything around him. The other passengers smiled when he walked by, thinking an evil spirit tormented him. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
An inner desire consumed Barnabas about knowing a specific truth about the church at Antioch. His continued pleas to the Lord about the issue had been met with silence.
Shouts from the wharf interrupted his thoughts.
“Barnabas! Barnabas! Wave your hands at us so we can see you. We have come from the church to greet you.”
Barnabas saw three men waving at the ship and went to the ship’s fore rail and waved his arms.
“I’m Barnabas! It’s great to see you, my brothers!” he shouted.
After what seemed like hours, Barnabas disembarked and ran to the threesome. He hugged and greeted them. Introductions were made amid the noisy clamor of the docks.
Barnabas could not contain himself any longer. He looked at them, with tears streaming down his cheeks.
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you first believed?”
(Excerpt from Deceived Dead and Delivered by Larry Nevenhoven, 2013, an Amazon eBook)
So, if the early church needed the gifts of the Holy Spirit, how much more do we need them now?
My prayer for America today:
Lord, I pray that American believers pursue love with eagerness, but that we also earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual gifts, especially that we may prophesy. (Based on 1 Corinthians 14:1 Amplified Version)
What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?
Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.