Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (Acts 11:25–26)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. There’s only one message that’s preached in the Lord’s Church. There’s only one thing He wants preached. It’s why He’s always had preachers. They might’ve gone by different names throughout the centuries. Whether they’re called patriarchs, priests, prophets, apostles, pastors, their job is the same: preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified for you.
There’s nothing else that saves. Nothing else that gives new life. It’s all Jesus Christ dead on the cross, and raised from the dead three days later. Holy Baptism dies and rises you. Gospel preaching, the Holy Absolution, puts the cross of Jesus into your ears, mind, heart. The Holy Supper delivers Jesus’ real Body and Blood into your mouth so that you would live in Him and He in you, and He would raise you from the dead on the Last Day. It is no longer you who live, but Christ who lives in you, and the life you now live in the flesh you live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you (Galatians 2:20). It’s why you’re called a Christian, a little Christ. He saves you, lives with you, in you, and even through you for others.
This is the Good News that Barnabas preached. He preached it with Paul. They preached so often that Jesus was the Christ who saved all humanity, that the followers of Jesus were known as Christians—first in Antioch, but then all over the world.
You are a Christian—not because of anything you’ve done, but rather because of all that Jesus has done for you. It wasn’t just His death and resurrection for you. It was His preachers (no matter what they’re called), who deliver His Word and His Gifts, that we might bear His Name: splashed on our foreheads, planted in our ears, delivered into our mouths. 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)