DAY 122 OF 365 IN 2021
Acts 9:26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple
There is an old Akan saying that ‘even when a mad man is completely healed, there is still enough lurking in the background to scare little children’. That image seemed very fitting of the Paul. who presented himself to be accepted by the disciples today.
These disciples were to receive a man at whose feat cloaks had been laid during the stoning of Stephen, and he approved of his death. Here was a man who had obtained explicit permission from the chief priest to travel the land arresting all who believed in the way. No angel had to reveal to them that this was no ally but an enemy.
It was just too easy to tell, the facts staring them in the face. Yet, there he stood waiting to be welcomed with open arms and that, was not easy to do. The tension was palpable. We can understand the situation of the disciples in Jerusalem because a full turn around, a complete switch in opinion or a sudden change of sides does indeed raise a whole lot of questions, even suspicions because previous experiences and encounters naturally shape our perception of others.
But beloved, here lies the verdict: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].”(2 Cor 5:17 AMP)
That was the lens through which Paul was to be perceived, as Barnabas sought to teach and that ought to also be our lens.