Barely escaping Damascus, Saul returns to Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem, the disciples remember his heartbreaking persecutions; they mistrust and shun him.
The Jewish religious establishment now see him as a traitor and no longer accept him. No one trusts him.
This is not the way to start a world changing ministry, yet, this is God’s plan. Everything was changing.
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Acts 9:15
His encounter with Jesus turned his world upside down; his theology is in shambles, his social standing is in the pit and most of all his relationships are gone. He no longer belongs in the world he knows
Everything is radically changed.
Until recently life was so different:
“I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” Galatians 1:14
Now, as God’s chosen instrument, he is alone, confused, mistrusted and shunned in a deeply hostile environment. He is no longer the golden boy of his religious community.
But God never abandons him. He can’t; it is not His nature.
God sends him a gift, a friend, Barnabas--the son of encouragement.
In those moments when our life seems to fall apart, when we suddenly become strangers in a familiar world, we need someone to find us, to walk beside us without judgment, someone to comfort, encourage, console, and trust us.
Barnabas bridges the gap between the believers and Saul, and becomes his friend.
At any moment God may call us to be a Barnabas in someone’s life, or receive a Barnabas into our life, to restore or be restored.