Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Joseph Barsabbas - "son of an oath" or "son of conversion" or "son of quiet"
In today's reading Acts 1:15-17, 20-26 we hear "they prayed" and "gave lots to them and the lot fell upon Matthias, ..."
Here is what I found web-searching on the guy not chosen.
Joseph Barsabbas bar-sab'-as Barsabbas, or Barsabas; the King James Version Barsabas, bar'-sa-bas; for etymology, etc., of Joseph, see general article on JOSEPH): Joseph Barsabbas was surnamed Justus (Ac 1:23). Barsabbas was probably a patronymic, i.e. son of Sabba or Seba. Other interpretations given are "son of an oath," "son of an old man," "son of conversion," "son of quiet." It is likely that the "Judas called Barsabbas" of Ac 15:22 was his brother. Ewald considers that both names refer to the same person, but this is improbable. Joseph was one of those who accompanied the apostles "all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from us" (Ac 1:21,22). At the meeting of the brethren under the presidency of Peter in Jerusalem shortly after the crucifixion, he was, therefore, proposed along with Matthias as a suitable candidate for the place in the apostleship left vacant by the treachery and death of Judas Iscariot; but was unsuccessful (Ac 1:15-26). According to Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, I, 12), Joseph was one of the 70 (Lu 10:1), and Papias records the oral tradition that he drank a cup of poison without harm (compare Mr 16:18). The Ac of Paul, a work belonging to the 2nd century and first mentioned by Origen, relates that Barsabbas, Justus the Flatfoot and others were imprisoned by Nero for protesting their faith in Christ, but that upon a vision of the newly martyred Paul appearing to the emperor, he ordered their immediate release. C. M. Kerr
So the little we know about Joseph Barsabbas seems to indicate that he understood that though he was not chosen to be one of the 12 he was not being rejected as a Christian. The lesson we may learn from Joseph Barsabbas is: 1) Do not wallow in self-pity. 2) Determine to imitate Christ in your thinking and character to the best of your ability. 3) Cultivate your talent. Tap into all of your ability for service in the kingdom. Who knows what the Lord may yet be able to do through you? 4) Do not go down the path of scandal - kill jealousy and rivalry in your heart. 5) Stay focused in your aim and constant effort to fulfill the greatest command (Mark 12:30,31).
Being a Christian is having already been chosen and having said yes to God. This is the ultimate.