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Are You a Comforter (3 of 3)

Mike Connell

Page 2 of 6
This guy Barnabas was nicknamed. Usually the nicknames that people give you are usually derogatory, and you spend years trying to get over it, and are quite sensitive about that issue afterwards.

But the apostles saw in this man Joseph, something that said: “we want to call you by this name, because this is the kind of person you are”. So they gave him a nickname, and he becomes known throughout the Bible by this nickname. His real name was Joses or Joseph; but they said: we're not going to call you Joseph anymore, because we see something is in your life, and something manifests through you, that is so remarkable, we want to identify you by that. So they said: we're going to call you Barnabas.

The name Barnabas means literally bar=son; nabas = prophecy. Prophecy is for encouragement and building and exhortation; but then in case you thought he was just a prophetic person, they actually interpret it. They say: which means by interpretation, Son of Consolation, or Son of Comfort.

Now this word 'comfort' is the exact word Jesus used when He described the Holy Spirit, when Jesus was leaving.

John 14:18 – “I go; but I will not leave you orphaned (or alone, or abandoned), but I will send to you another comforter”.

Comforter - that's the word ‘to call near’, ‘to exhort’, ‘to stir’. It's the name given for the Holy Spirit; so when you call out upon the Holy Spirit, you're calling upon the comforter - the one who calls us near; and the one who comes near to us to help us, to strengthen us in times of difficulty.

They name a guy after the Holy Spirit. They didn't call him the Holy Spirit - that would be dishonouring to the Holy Spirit. What they did was, they used the very name that describes the work of the Holy Spirit - here's the comforter. This guy is the Son of the Comforter. This one shows what the Holy Ghost looks like, when He's working to bring to help to people who are in distress. That's why this guy's so important.

He was an incredibly influential person in the New Testament, far more than you realise; and when you look into his life, and you actually look at Barnabas, you see this is what it means to be a comforter of people. A definition is just hard to get it, but when you look at this person - his name is literally ‘Son of the Comforter’. This man we see shows us exactly what the work of God is like - what it looks like to flow in comfort - what it looks like. It's not just putting your arm around people, it's far more than that; so let me just give you a few things about the guy that just are helpful.

1) They bring out Generosity. They contrast him. Lots of people gave, there were hundreds and hundreds of people gave; but on that day they said: this guy has got a great gift of generosity around him, and they contrast him with Ananias and Sapphira, who kept back part, but wanted to look good.

They're saying: the first quality in him - authentic generosity. He just was absolutely generous. You know every one of us can be as generous as we choose to be, but he had an authentic generosity. There was no trying to present himself as being something, trying to make out he's something; he was absolutely authentic.

He cared about people, he had a real love for people - he was a people person. He just loved people, and he cared about them. If you want to be an encourager, one of the things that will become part of your life (or you can build into your life), is generosity towards people - not financial generosity.