When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer!
— Acts 9:26 NLT
Saul, whom we know better as the apostle Paul, had wreaked havoc on the church in Jerusalem and Judea before his Damascus road experience of Jesus. Believers in Damascus knew of Paul's preaching about Jesus and his commitment to Jesus as the Messiah. Believers in Jerusalem knew him only as a fierce persecutor. Can a leopard change its spots? Can a pursuer and persecutor of Jesus' disciples truly become a disciple? The believers in Jerusalem were cautious, even afraid of him. I think I would have been careful, too! We need to remember Saul's situation when people hold onto our past mistakes. Nearly every one of God's great leaders had moments where their faith life was less than stellar. God, however, doesn't discard people quickly or lightly. His searching love is not looking just to redeem lost sinners, but also to reclaim fallen servants. We must give our brothers and sisters with dark pasts the same grace. We recognize that this principle of grace is especially needed if the brother or sister with a dark past is us, so surely we need to extend the same grace to others! (Matthew 7:12)
Father, I cannot thank you enough for the frankness and openness of the Bible about the failure and fallenness of your people and their leaders. Your grace toward them gives me confidence that you can use me because you have forgiven and remade me. Thank you for your indescribably amazing grace. In Jesus' name, I praise you for your mercy, love, and grace. Amen.
Related Scripture Readings
- Ephesians 2:1-10
- 1 Timothy 1:12-17
Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Monday, May 17, 2021
About This Devotional
Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.
Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.