When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to associate with the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple. – Acts 9:26
After “Saul, the Persecutor” became “Paul, the Apostle” it was a little difficult to gain acceptance among the “brethren.” For those men who had endured the hatred of Christ’s enemies, the belief in the power of the Holy Spirit’s regenerative ability was truly put to the test. Of course, it shouldn’t be that much of a stretch for us to imagine their consternation and reticence upon his arrival in Jerusalem, the place where his infamous reputation was first established. You can just hear them asking, “Saul? A believer? Really? REALLY???”
What if we were to see converts among similar oppressors today? Might our own fears lead us to similar conclusions? Might these same type of fears be hindering our efforts to reach those who currently hate us the most? Might we also doubt … though we would never admit it … the converting power of the same God who converted us?
Some of the boldest, bravest Christ-followers who ever lived struggled to accept a converted Saul, so don’t beat yourself up over it too much. At the same time, we simply must believe that God can change anyone for His glory and purpose. We have never needed it more than now, so let us all pray for the boldness necessary to reach the rest.
There are no terrorists … only people who need Jesus. – Brother Andrew