“Then after an interval of fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.” (Gal. 2:1)
Paul skips a lot of time from his visit with Peter and his next trip to Jerusalem. He had not been sitting around but his travels had taken him to many places where he preached and taught. He had not traveled alone but had two companions with him. Readers of the New Testament met one of these men in Luke’s account of the mission efforts of Paul.
We first meet Barnabas in Acts 4:36 where he is introduced as Joseph, a member of the Levite tribe and a Cyprian by birth. He was known as Barnabas, quite possibly a nickname, which meant Encouragement’s Son. Joseph the Cyprian was an encourager of men. He owned land which he sold and then gave the proceeds to the apostles.
We next encounter Barnabas as the rescuer of Paul when he came to Jerusalem (Acts 9:27). The apostles who were there at that time were afraid of Paul not really believing the story that Paul had been converted to Jesus. Barnabas was not afraid and intervened on Paul’s behalf. That was the beginning of a great friendship and partnership.
The third introduction to Barnabas comes in Acts 13:1 in Antioch where Barnabas is serving as a teacher along with Paul and some others. The Holy Spirit paired Paul and Barnabas up as a mission team. What a great team they were. They made a long tour and then returned to Antioch where they told of the wonderful things God had done in their ministry.
The fourth mention is in Antioch where Paul and Barnabas are teamed up in a debate with those who insisted on circumcision. The church decided to send the missionary team on to Jerusalem to discuss the issue with the apostles and elders of the church. After this event, the two men spent some time in Antioch preaching and teaching.
The fifth account is perplexing in some ways. The two great men of God decided to go back and visit the places they had preached in on their first journey but came to a disagreement over John Mark. The disagreement was a strong one and Barnabas took John Mark and went to his homeland to preach and teach. Paul chose Silas and went towards Syria and Cilicia.
Then there was Titus, who is somewhat of a mystery. He isn’t mentioned in Acts though he is in the second letter to the Corinthian church. Most of what we know about him is from the letter Paul wrote to him. In that letter, we learn that Titus was “a true son in the faith” to Paul. Later in this letter, we will understand why Paul mentions him as a separate part of his entourage.
Task for Today: Don’t let disagreements stop you from your God appointed task. There will be setbacks and difficulties in ministry. Even if you and a fellow Christian disagree over some issue it is important that you don’t let it stand in the way of getting the job done. There is always more to agree upon than to disagree on.