Forgiveness Matters- Part 3 Freedom is Connected to Unity

As we prepare to wrap up this series about forgiveness, I feel as if our Father is leading me to share what happened after Saul accepted his call into the ministry. (Of course, you can read all about it in the book of Acts, and you should definitely go to the Father with any questions you may have.) I am learning to do that myself, but I am prepared to share the cliff notes version today.

In summary, Saul immediately preached about Jesus being the son of God in the synagogues. Talk about stepping out on faith! (A Synagogue is a Jewish house of worship and the Jewish people did not believe that Jesus was the son of God.) Well, after a few days, the Jewish people plotted to kill him, so his followers helped him escape. (It puts a whole different spin on the term followers.) People would probably stop worrying about how many followers they had and focus on who was following them if they knew the follower could intercede in times of trouble.

Well, when Saul went to Jerusalem to escape, he tried to connect with the disciples, but they were ultimately afraid of him. Well, I can’t say that I blame them? Saul had a reputation that included imprisoning Christians. For all they knew, he could have been there to toss them in jail or worse. Nevertheless, Barnabas stepped forward, took Saul to the apostles, and spoke on his behalf.

Now Barnabas was a good man. He was a member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Born with the name Joseph, the apostles gave him the name Barnabas. This name meant “son of encouragement or son of consolation.” I can certainly understand why he was given that name. According to Acts 9:27-28 NIV, when Barbanas saw Saul being rejected by the disciples, “… he took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his 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. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the LORD.”

So, let’s think about this for a moment. First, Barnabas took Saul to the apostles. Next, he spoke on his behalf. Then Saul could move freely, speaking in the name of Jesus. As I reflected upon this reality, I realized that there’s freedom in unity. Barnabas understood that and many souls were saved and set free because of the calling Saul, later referred to as Paul, had on his life. So, if someone in your life has an encounter with Jesus, please consider speaking on their behalf if the time presents itself or at the very least encourage them along the way. Your efforts could be the very thing Jesus is waiting for to set the captives free.

Just think about it. Then go to the Father and pray about it.