26When 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. 27But 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. 28So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
29He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
31Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord."
Saul begins a new mission
v. 23 After many days ... the Jew consipired to kill him.
v. 26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples.
According to Galatians 1:17-18, Paul left Damascus and traveled to Arabia, where he lived for 3 years. It is unclear whether his 3 year stay occurred between v. 22 -23 or v. 25-26. Regardless of which theory is correct there was a period of time he left Damascus.
We all have a reputation, by the mere mention of our names people have thoughts of our character. At the mention of Saul's name a Christian would be terrified for his life. But Barnabas, a Jewish convert (4:36) accepted Saul's change of heart. (Great lesson for those who know of new converts to come beside them and encourge them and help them to be accepted by other fellow believers.)
Back in Jerusalem, Saul kept trying to join himself with the disciples, he wanted to belong, but it was Barnabas's, the only one who listened to Saul's conversion and trusted him.
v. 29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him. Saul was BOLD and fearless, just as Stephen. He knew what happened to Stephen and the Jews hated Saul even more! Because in their minds he was a renegade and a traitor, one who had deserted the faith and betrayed them. It had taken Saul 3 years in Damascus and Arabia to make the people so angry that they wanted to kill him. It only took him 2 weeks in Jerusalem, (Gal 1:18) before they wanted to kill him there!!
v. 30 When the brothers learned of the plot to kill Saul, they shipped him off to Tarsus, his hometown. He spent the next 7 years there. No doubt it was a great surprise when he returned home to tell Mom & Dad that he was baptized and now following the teachings of Jesus Christ!!!
v. 31The church enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened & encouraged by the Holy Spirit, living in the fear of the Lord, it grew in numbers!!! Maybe the peace was because Saul had left the area, leaving the Jews without a target!
Saul did more than declare Jesus as the Messiah. he told his fellow Jews that they, like himself, needed to change their allegiance. They needed to repent and turn to God!