Fearing Transformation

There he stands in your doorway, the man who had been threatening you and your friends now wants to join your group. Would you trust him and take him in? This is the situation the disciples of Jesus faced when Saul of Tarsus appeared at their doorstep. His reputation of making murderous threats against the followers of Jesus preceded his arrival (Acts 9:1). Saul was persecuting the disciples of Jesus, even condoning the stoning of Stephen (Acts 8:1) and now he wanted to befriend the very people he was persecuting? Would you trust him?

Jesus said, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44, NASB).” But what do you do when the answer to that prayer shows up at your door? The disciples were afraid of Saul (Acts 9:26). Would you be fearful if an enemy of yours now wanted to associate with you, claiming to now be a follower of Jesus?

It’s interesting that Saul, later called Paul, wrote to the Corinthians, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus is accursed’; and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3).” Perhaps Paul recalled what Barnabas did when the disciples still feared him. Barnabas took Paul to the apostles and told them how he had been boldly speaking out about Jesus in Damascus and Jerusalem (Acts 9:27-29). It was enough to convince the other followers of Jesus who helped Paul escape from those who now sought his life (9:30).

© 2023, Chris G Thelen

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase. – Acts 9:31 (NASB)

8 thoughts on “Fearing Transformation

  1. It is so important to have God’s discernment. Too often we rely on our own strength, memory, and assessment, rather than asking God to let us see others, as he sees them.

    Father God, give me eyes to see others as you see them. Raise my love level, so I can love like you. Amen

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