Today's Reading: Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." (Acts 13:2)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Holy Spirit set apart Barnabas for the work of proclaiming the Gospel to all nations. Barnabas and Saul (St. Paul) were set apart by God and sent on the first missionary journey.
This is not the only time God has set apart someone for His work and calling. The Lord set apart Noah and called him to build an ark. The Lord set apart Abraham and called him the father of many nations, for by the Seed of Abraham, all nations on earth would be blessed. The Lord set apart the Old Testament people of Israel to be the family tree that would bring about the birth of Jesus.
Jesus, too, was set apart, which is another way of saying something or someone is holy. Jesus is born for you and called the Holy Child, the Holy One of Israel. Jesus is God and man to deliver us from everything we think, say, and do that is unholy. Jesus is holy for you. He is called and set apart in His perfect life, lived for you, and His perfect death on the cross where He died for you. Jesus was set apart and called by God to accomplish salvation for Barnabas, Abraham, and for you.
Through Jesus' dying and rising you are also set apart and called by the Holy Spirit. In your Baptism you are set apart from your sin, and you are holy. In your Baptism you are set apart by God for His calling: your calling to faith in Jesus, and love for the neighbor. Your vocation may be entirely different from Barnabas', but like Barnabas, you are set apart to receive the Lord's treasures: His Word, water, Body and Blood, and called to speak that Good News to anyone who asks you for a "reason for the hope that is within you" (1 Peter 3:15). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
For Barnabas we praise You, Who kept Your law of love And, leaving earthly treasures, Sought riches from above. O Christ, our Lord and Savior, Let gifts of grace descend, That Your true consolation May through the world extend. (By All Your Saints in Warfare, LSB 518:17)