Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Week 7 – Devotional 2 – Working as a Team – Acting in Compassion  

Tuesday (15/04/2014) - Read Acts 9:26-28

Why were the disciples afraid of Saul and didn’t want to meet with him? What changed their minds? What did Saul do after that?

Do you remember Saul? It was at his feet that the witnesses laid their clothes when they went to stone Stephen. Saul used to persecute the Christians. He asked the high priest for letters to go to Damascus to take the Christians there as prisoners to Jerusalem (Acts 7:58; 9:1-2). But on the way to Damascus Saul had an encounter with Jesus and he became a Christian (Acts 9:3-22). He started to preach the Gospel and soon he also was being persecuted because of his faith. He had to flee from Damascus because they wanted to kill him there (Acts 9:23-25), so he goes to Jerusalem to meet the other disciples. But when he got there the disciples didn’t want to gather with him, because they were afraid of him. They thought he still was persecuting them so they didn’t want to trust him. At this moment Barnabas dares to risk himself, talks to Saul, listens to his story finding out how he had an encounter with Jesus and how he started to preach the Gospel in Damascus. Then Barnabas goes to the disciples as a mediator, telling them all he knew about Saul and, specially, how he gave a vote of trust to Saul and thus the disciples should do the same. As a result Saul was accepted among the disciples because of Barnabas’ influence and started to preach in Jerusalem as he did in Damascus.

Can you see? Many times we are going to meet people who erred, failed, and that maybe still are failing and sinning. What is our role as the church? To show the Lord’s grace to these people and accept them in the midst of us, even knowing that they may fail again. It is not easy, but the Lord Jesus teaches us to run after the lost sheep and treat her so that it can become part of the flock. List at least one person you know that is living a very difficult situation, maybe he is even in sin, to whom you can show grace during this week through consolation and/or encouragement.

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