The Discipleship Adventure
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name?And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
The discipleship journey of Saul begins. With Ananias’ help, Saul was establish in the church but it wasn’t going to be easy because of his background. Saul intentionally spend several days with the disciples. It is good to point out that Saul spend some time with the disciples because today we see a lot of Christians wanting to be called disciples who are not willing to invest time in discipleship.
Another important thing to notice in the first few verses is that IMMEDIATELY Saul started preaching in the synagogues. WHAT!!! He just got saved and now he is preaching??? Did he attend the membership class? Is he baptized already? Does he have a year of membership in the local church? Why is he preaching?
The church in general today has made discipleship more academic- oriented than action oriented. Saul couldn’t stop preaching the word because it had changed him. There were no structures telling him not to make disciples. In fact, the structure and system of the early church in fact encouraged and empowered new Christians to go and make disciples.
23 After many days had gone by, there was a conspiracy among the Jews to kill him, 24 but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. 25 But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall. 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.
As Saul was preaching and making a difference, opposition started. Opposition is a sign that you are doing something significant. Saul experienced opposition from the believers and the non-believers. But good thing that there was someone again who would help establish Saul in spiritual family.
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews,[a] but they tried to kill him.30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
And the result was growth. In this chapter, we see the discipleship process at work:
ENGAGE- ESTABLISH – EQUIP-EMPOWER.
31 Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.