Acts 9

Read Acts 9.

And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 

Acts 9:27-28

Within this well known chapter showcasing Saul’s conversion, we find a very short mention of a man named Barnabas. I don’t know about you, but I often get so excited reading about Saul’s encounter on the road and subsequent launch into the mission field that I tend to overlook the instance of the believer’s fear of Paul and Barnabas’ choice to step in on his behalf. Barnabas trusted that this man-who not long ago had been set on the path of persecuting local believers-had been transformed into a new creature in Christ. Paul had not been his friend but rather his enemy. He had a totally different testimony and life experience than Barnabas. Even so, Barnabas was willing to love him as Christ loves us and bring him into the fellowship of believers. Notice, he didn’t go on and on about Paul’s past and his sinful choices. He spoke on his behalf to the other believers about the work of the Lord in his life and the ways Paul had been sharing the good news since his conversion. Barnabas took note of the saving grace that Paul received and followed the example Jesus set of showing mercy and love. Because Barnabas stepped up with encouragement for the other believers, Paul was able to share the good news of Christ’s love with many. Let us be like Barnabas and embrace those who may have a different story than our own, welcoming them with grace, mercy, and love.

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