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As soon as he was baptized (Acts 9:17-19) he started preaching in the meeting houses. He preached that Jesus was the Son of God. However, the believers didn’t trust him, because of his previous reputation, persecuting believers in Jerusalem. Saul faced opposition from believers. The Jews in Damascus conspired to kill him, but he got away over the wall (Acts 9:23-25). Saul went to Jerusalem and tried to join the disciples. They were terrified. They didn’t trust him.
Barnabas took Saul under his wing and encouraged him. If he hadn’t, Christianity would have lost one of our greatest missionaries. After Barnabas told how Saul was preaching, the disciples accepted him, reluctantly. Interesting, they wouldn’t accept him just as he was.
The next time we hear about Saul, he is in Antioch (Acts 13). He and Barnabas were commissioned by the Christians and they went off to Seleucia and Cyprus. Somewhere, on that trip, Saul began to be called Paul, as he was in the spiritual debate with a wizard called Bar-Jesus. Maybe he changed his name so he wouldn’t be persecuted anymore. Interesting reality for one who used to be a persecutor, don’t you think?
When you receive the name “Christian” how did you change? Have you changed much since? Do the people in your social network know your name, Christian? Do others you meet?
Who is your Barnabas—your encourager? Who are you encouraging? It’s all about change, because it’s all about spiritual growth. It’s all about change because it’s all about being a missionary to our world. When we are used to touch the lives of others, God works the miracle of change and they get the name Christian, too. So why are Christians so hung up about change?
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