Acts 9:26-31 – When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus. 31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
“When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.” It is understandable that non-believers will not accept that the Lord Jesus Christ will save us and make us new. We know that many people believe sayings such as “a leopard does not change its spots.” Behind that thinking is the thought that a man is who he is and is powerless to change himself. And they are, for the most part, right. Changes to the heart are a difficult task for a person to do oneself. However, with Jesus all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). 2 Corinthians 5:17 clearly states “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Of all the verses in the Bible I wonder if this one is not the most challenged, the hardest to believe, even for those who claim to embrace the inerrancy and infallibility of the scriptures. However we must be quick to agree that it is true that it takes time for us to learn to yield to God and so become what God has for us to be. So yes, we all are new creatures. We are instantly new in the spirit, however, the flesh resists and slowly is changed. Yes, they were afraid of Saul, after all, he had been a fierce and hateful enemy of all believers.
“But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.” Barnabas believed and advocated for Saul. He was a lover of souls. He was an encourager. He saw the good in people. Praise God for people like Barnabas! When one of us is grumpy, or perhaps too often difficult, the Barnabas’s of the world tell us to love, accept and pray for the person. The love of God flows through them. They trust and may be taken advantage of, but they do not regret. Actually they can never be taken advantage of because they love and accept as servants of Jesus, and do so unto Him, so they are never taken advantage of because their dedication and obedience belongs to God. So they love, accept and encourage even when others find it hard to do so. We need more more people like Barnabas.
“So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him.” Believing their brother Barnabas, the disciples accepted Saul.
Saul again went forthwith to preach Jesus to the Jews. This notes him speaking to the same Hellenistic (Greek) Jews that he had formerly associated with and had approved of their stoning of Stephen. As they had not accepted the Truth of Jesus which Stephen had preached to them they did not accept the same that Saul would preach to them. As they murdered Stephen, so they planned to murder Saul. Here we see that when the leopard has no desire to change his spots they remain the same.
“When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.” We see that the believers took care of Saul. As believers had done in Damascus, they again do here. Family, we take care of each other. They took care of Saul. We take care of each other and we put up with each other for two reasons. The first is because we love and serve Jesus. That is all the reason we should need. Still, the second reason is that the love of God lives within us and so we love God with all that we are and the same love means that we love each other. We take care of each other. God is our refuge and the church is the body of Christ. God has given us to each other to be a comfort and safe haven for us to be loved, and when necessary, to be emotionally and spiritually healed as the Holy Spirit moves amongst us. Let us be the body of Christ not only in name, but also in reality. Let’s accept each other, overlook the differences and annoyances, and just love each other. Let’s protect each other. As we do this, we show the love of God and we increasingly reveal the love of God to each other and to the world. It’s God’s plan for us all, to love Him and love each other. What a great plan! Praise our God!
“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.” Jesus took away the early great adversary of His church by converting Him. The adversary became an apostle and a brother and perhaps the greatest (certainly the most active) apostle of them all. Let’s love and encourage each other. The one we encourage may turn out to be another Paul. Only God knows. We just keep loving. How wonderful! Praise God!
Psalm 150:6 – Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!
Micah 7:7 – But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
Micah 6:8 – He has shown You, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of You but to do justly, to love mercy, And to walk humbly with Your God.This entry was posted in Devotion and tagged Acts, Corinthians, Matthew, Micah, Psalm by Bob with