Read Acts 9:26-27 “When he (Saul) came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his own journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.”
We all have a past. We have all done or said things that we are not proud of. This was certainly true for Paul. But take a moment to look at the kind of friend and supporter that Barnabas was to his friend. Barnabas brought Paul to the apostles. The apostles were afraid of Paul, and they had good reason to be. Paul had persecuted and killed many believers prior to his conversion. Barnabas was not afraid. Or maybe he was, but he chose instead to share the story of Paul’s conversion and to share the testimony of what he knew of Paul. Barnabas stood up for him and he paved the way for Paul to be successful on his mission for the Lord. Barnabas was drawn to people he could encourage. He recognized that Paul needed him to go before him and share the good news of how Paul’s life had been changed and that the Lord had called him to be His ambassador and spread the word of God. Barnabas offered testimony to this change and encouragement to Paul. The Holy Spirit is able to change our hearts, too, as we see in the case of Paul. We still need to surround ourselves with others to remind us that we have been changed and to share this evidence with others. By allowing others to see and believe the conversion of Paul’s life from enemy to ally, we are given a bit of hope. Hope that we too can change and live our lives for the Lord. In order to persevere and be successful with this change, we need to surround ourselves with a community of believers who can encourage and equip us. Like Barnabas was to Paul, we can be inspired to be an encouragement for others who need the hope that Christ can offer.