We just studied Saul's transformation- such an incredible turnaround in his life - which I think could really only happen with his trust in God and the Holy Spirit working in his life! We discussed how three people helped him with reconciliation. Stephen, Ananias, and Barnabus all played an important role in Saul's life: Stephen, who had spoken the word BOLDLY and died a death of stoning because of it, may have planted some seeds in Saul, the zealous Jew who stood nearby holding the coats of those who killed him. He asked God to forgive them - including Saul standing there. Stephen saw the Son of Man and proclaimed it, and I'm sure Saul heard that and remembered it a few days later when he saw Jesus in the light on the road to Damascus. Ananias, an old respected leader and Christian was asked to go lay hands on Saul to restore his sight and give him the Holy Spirit. He questioned God and was afraid of Saul, but he was OBEDIENT. I'm sure the old man gave comfort and credibility to the transformed man. Then there's Barnabus. When everybody else was hearing about Saul and probably thinking this was some kind of cruel trick, Barnabus BEFRIENDS Saul and accompanies him, introducing him to other Christians and smoothing the way.
It was another good lesson for me to contemplate: am I anything like these men, putting my faith into practice? Am I helping others transform? Am I like Stephen, speaking with BOLDNESS? So filled with the Holy Spirit that nothing will scare me? Or Ananias (well I'm getting older that's for sure) with an OBEDIENT heart, even though questioning the situation? Or Barnabus, the good FRIEND who vouches for someone who needs it? Stands by and even travels with someone promoting the gospel? All of this can be overwhelming but we aren't alone! We have the Holy Spirit with us too, if we are baptized believers!
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
I Peter 4:10