July 23, 2015

Barnabas and Saul (Paul): Affirmation

Acts 9:26-31

Barnabas...told them how Saul...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.

—  Acts 9:27

Saul was not well received when he came to Jerusalem as a believer in Christ. The disciples were afraid of him. Saul had been a persecutor of Christ’s followers, so they didn’t trust him and hesitated to welcome him into their fellowship.

Barnabas, however, helped to support Saul in his new calling. Barnabas had stature in the community. He was a wealthy landowner who had sold some land to support the cause of the apostles (Acts 4:36-37). His name means “son of encouragement,” and he lived up to this name.

Barnabas took the initiative to seek out Saul and listen to his story. Barnabas not only forgave Saul for the pain he had caused, but also affirmed Saul’s conversion and ministry, and brought him to the apostles so that he might partner with them in ministry. The disciples were probably stunned to see the complete transformation of Saul’s heart! And through the supportive encouragement of Barnabas, they reconciled with Saul and gained a passionate coworker in God’s kingdom.

We all need forgiveness, recon­ciliation, and affirmation. We have been forgiven and restored in Christ. We are ambassadors of Christ, called to represent him and his offer of grace to others. Is there someone in your life who needs another chance and affirmation?

Lord, give me the compassionate strength to reach out and affirm someone who needs another chance. Make me a living ambassador of your grace. Amen.

About the author — Steven and Deb Koster

Steven and Deb Koster have a passion for marriages, families, and spiritual growth in the home. Both are ordained ministers in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Steven formerly served as editor of Today and director of ReFrame's English-language outreach. Deb leads Family Fire, ReFrame’s family ministry at FamilyFire.com and on Facebook. The Kosters have three children.

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