And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. —Acts 9:26-27
After Saul’s conversion, there was great doubt among the believers as to whether he had really put his faith in Jesus Christ. After all, he had been a relentless persecutor of the early church. Some even thought his alleged conversion might have been a scheme to infiltrate their ranks.
So God spoke to a man named Ananias and instructed him to go and visit Saul. Ananias probably couldn’t believe his ears: “Are we talking about the same Saul here? Are you talking about Saul of Tarsus?”
But God told Ananias, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15–16).
Then God brought another man into Saul’s (or Paul’s) life. His name was Barnabas, and he personally introduced Paul to all of the other disciples and reassured them that his conversion was sincere.
Now many of us would like to be a Paul. We would love to turn our world upside-down. But the question is, how many of us are willing to be an Ananias or a Barnabas?
You may not be the next Paul. You may not be the next Billy Graham. But you may have an impact on the one who will be. That person you take under your wing could shake his or her world.
What Barnabas did is a good illustration of true discipleship, because discipling is not just teaching; it is also being a friend.