What’s in a nickname? Nothing much perhaps. But for a certain Levite named Joseph from Cyprus, his nickname became his only name. The Apostles of the early church dubbed him Barnabas, and that’s the name that stuck. His nickname is defined for us by Luke to mean Son of Encouragement. True to his new name, Barnabas had a reputation for being an encourager and an advocate.
As for Caleb, he was a Kennizite. Although this means he was descended from Esau, not Jacob, his clansmen had been grafted into the tribe of Judah long before the Exodus. Technically he was going home to Judah when Israel entered the Promised Land. He didn’t need encouraging; courage had always been his strong suit. Caleb and Joshua survived the Exodus wanderings, and their faith and determination serves as a lesson for us even today.
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