Sunday, March 25, 2012

Acts 9:26-27

Summary retelling of Acts 9: 26-27:

Saul goes from Damascus to Jerusalem.  He tries to join in with the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem, but they are afraid of him.  Barnabas takes some time to get to know Saul and after hearing his story Barnabas becomes an advocate for Saul before the apostles.  Barnabas tells Saul’s conversion story for Saul.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire.  There would be no more dangerous spot for Saul to go than Jerusalem.  After all, Saul was known in Jerusalem.  It’s not like he could hide.  If he was seen in Jerusalem by the traditional Jews but yet was not seen hanging out with the Sanhedrin, then they would certainly know something was up.  If he was seen hanging around the disciples, the Sanhedrin would definitely know that something was up!  It seems like a horrible choice for Saul to make, but it is where he goes.  After all, who better to learn the faith from than the disciples in Jerusalem who had endured persecution after persecution?

Would you have the confidence to “walk into the teeth of the enemy” as Saul does here?  How does this impact your perception of Saul?

Second Thought:
Saul is immediately rejected by the disciples in Jerusalem.  Who can blame them?  Saul was there when Stephen was martyred.  Saul gave approval when the disciples were persecuted.  Saul even had a letter to arrest any Christian he found and drag that Christian before the Sanhedrin.  They had every right to be afraid of him!

Have you ever found yourself not understanding and not following God’s lead because of fear?  Why is this natural?  How can we overcome this natural human instinct?

Third Thought:
Thank God for Barnabas!  This goes to show us how important a good spiritual mentor can be.  The mentor can help introduce us to a community of faith.  The mentor can “lend” us some of their credibility until we gain our own credibility. On the same token, it is important that we do not disappoint our spiritual mentors or show their willingness to lend us credibility to be wrong.  After all, what would have people thought of Barnabas had Saul turned on the disciples?  They would have lost faith in Barnabas because he lent Saul credibility!  When a mentor reaches out to embrace us, we must strive hard to prove that the mentor’s faith in us is well-founded!

Who has lent you some of their “spiritual credibility” in your life?  Have you lived up to that credibility or have you shown that person foolish for trusting in you?  How often do you think of spiritual relationships in these terms of being able to affect another person’s standing in a community because they stood up for you?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 9:28-30

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