When [Barnabas] came and saw the gift that was from God, he rejoiced and comforted all to wait for the Lord with steadfast heart. (Acts 11:23)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, was also named Barnabas by the apostles, this name means, Son of Comfort” (Acts 4:36). And that’s what he did. He comforted. He encouraged. He brought peace. The apostles nicknamed him, but it fit, because that’s exactly what Barnabas did. He fulfilled his name by preaching the Gospel, both alone and with Paul.
He comforted not only Jews but Gentiles. He preached Jesus. He fulfilled the work of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, in preaching Jesus, in delivering Jesus’ Gifts, and in showing mercy to many within the church by bringing money and supplies to those in need. In all these ways the Spirit, the Comforter, brought comfort and peace through Pastor Barnabas.
The Spirit also wants that same peace and comfort brought to us. You and I need it, too! So the Spirit uses another “Son of Comfort” to do it. He uses your pastor. If things are rough, if you’ve got sins, if you’ve got worries, doubts, and fears, the Spirit put your pastor there—right there!—for you. He’s your own personal Barnabas. Your pastor will certainly rejoice with you at happy times, but your pastor’s spiritual joy is to deliver Jesus, His Word, His Absolution, His Body and Blood, to you. In those things you have peace, Jesus’ peace, and you have the Spirit’s comfort in them, too. In those Gifts, you have the Comfort and Peace, knowing that, no matter what, Jesus is with you, you’re His, He’s yours, and you’ll be with Him forever. When you’ve got that going for you, you’ve got everything! The Comforter has made sure you have it.
Pastor Barnabas went everywhere doing the Spirit’s work of preaching the Gospel and delivering the Sacraments, and that’s how He brought the Spirit’s comfort and Jesus’ peace to the saints. Your Barnabas, your pastor, doesn’t go everywhere, but the Spirit sent him to your congregation to do all the same things St. Barnabas did. The Spirit has done that for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
The minister, whom Christ has sent, Is but His humble instrument… When ministers lay on their hands, Absolved by Christ the sinner stands. (“As surely as I Live,” God Said, LSB 614:5-6)