No one else would trust him. They feared him, and rightfully so. Everyone except Barnabas.
Barnabas traveled to Tarsus to find Saul. He reached out and embraced this man who had so relentlessly pursued and persecuted the followers of Jesus. This was the man responsible for the death of gentle Stephen, a deacon who had served among the first believers. Barnabas was among those believers. He had witnessed Saul’s merciless violence. Nevertheless, he sought him out, and offered him his hand in fellowship. He was the first man to accept the word of Saul of Tarsus, that he had come to faith. He was Paul, an apostle appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ to offer salvation to the Gentiles.
Side by side, these two planted the first seeds of faith in Christ among the pagans. Together they endured great hardship. They prevailed against life threatening danger and injury. They were courageous and devoted brothers in Christ. Then something came between them, and these two pillars of the early church walked away from each other. A bitter argument ended their ministry together.
What if you were the one responsible for that?
That question was the seed for the new play we will be bringing to the Ragtown stage in February. It is a story that brings Barnabas and Paul face to face one last time, along with the man responsible for their dispute. Four of the most dynamic figures in Christianity, men who collectively penned almost 70 percent of the New Testament, are the central characters in what I hope you will find to be an entertaining and engaging story. The research and writing gave me a new and deeper appreciation for these men who so courageously championed the Gospel of Jesus right in the heart of the pagan Roman Empire.
Their words endure. As does their example. I can’t wait to see this one.