And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 2ut Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
It is hard being the new kid at school, or the new family at church, or the new guy at work. We all have experienced that kind of fear. We also know what it takes to befriend the new person as we learn to put aside our own selfish comforts to be able to make that other person feel more comfortable. Most of us know about the challenge of teaching our children how to be friendly to others. I think some adults need lessons in this too. Stepping out of comfort zones is an important skill to learn, especially so we can obey the Holy Spirit better when He asks us to step out of our comfort to minister to others.
I love the beginning of this passage! Paul goes back to Jerusalem and everyone is scared to death and steers clear of him. Can you blame them? Brave Barnabas, probably the one back in 4:36-37, took Paul in and validated him to the Jerusalem disciples. If he was married, I imagine that his wife thought he was crazy. Then came the Hellenists, the same group from Acts 6, against Saul and sought to kill him. The disciples, obviously trusting Saul by this time, save his life by bringing him to Caesarea (30 miles north) and sending him to Tarsus. The event of Saul’s conversion and other political events gave the believers relief from persecution for a time. As the Holy Spirit comforted, the church grew.
Obviously, Barnabas was filled by the Spirit and obeyed His leading just like Ananias did when he went to heal Paul of his blindness. Both Barnabas and Ananias put aside their personal reservations and concerns to do the work of the Lord. Just imagine if they didn’t obey the Spirit. Praise the Lord for these brave men! And for their examples to us in scripture! Are you willing to obey like they did?
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
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