23 After many days, the Jews had a meeting. They planned to kill Saul. 24 But he learned about their plan. Day and night they watched the city gates closely in order to kill him. 25 But his followers helped him escape by night. They lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. 26 When Saul came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the believers. But they were all afraid of him. They didn’t believe he was really one of Jesus’ followers. 27 But Barnabas took him to the apostles. He told them about Saul’s journey. He said that Saul had seen the Lord. He told how the Lord had spoken to Saul. Barnabas also said that Saul had preached without fear in Jesus’ name in Damascus. 28 So Saul stayed with the believers. He moved about freely in Jerusalem. He spoke boldly in the Lord’s name. 29 He talked and argued with Jews who followed Greek practices. But they tried to kill him. 30 The other believers heard about this. They took Saul down to Caesarea. From there they sent him off to Tarsus. 31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. The Holy Spirit gave the church strength and boldness. So they grew in numbers. And they worshiped the Lord.
Once Saul became a Christian he was a bold and powerful preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was an excellent debater and was able to prove Jesus was the Messiah. Because of this the Jews in Damascus and Jerusalem wanted to murder Saul. Once Saul opened his mouth after his conversion his life was in danger!
It is also important to note the help Saul received from other believers before he had a chance to minister let alone write much of the New Testament. Saul may well have been murdered if it wasn’t for these believers. The believers warned Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem and helped him escape both cities. The believers also allowed Paul to stay in their homes. Barnabas Australia deserves a special flex mention as he stuck up for Saul when he arrived in Jerusalem. The believers were not sure that Saul was truly saved and Barnabas was able to persuade them.
No matter what kind of encounter you may have with God or how powerful or convincing your preaching you cannot fulfil God’s purpose for your life without other believers. We fulfil God’s plans and purposes with others and He gets the glory!
Thank you Lord for the blessing of other believers in my life. Help “us” fulfil your will in our community. Amen.
Written by Ainslie Woods