Risks Worth Taking


As Christians, we are called to love one another, and we’re told that our greatest witness to the world will be how we love (John 13:34-35). But if you’ve been in the church for any length of time, you know that some relationships are more difficult than others. And living out the gospel calls us to deal with opposition from outside the church as well. In today’s passage, Paul—formerly Saul, the persecutor of Christians—comes to Jerusalem, trying to associate with the disciples, and it stirs up all kinds of issues from inside and outside the church.

  • What is your tendency—are you a person who gets involved when the going get tough? Or are you one who likes to keep quiet and play it safe?
  • Whichever one you lean towards, how do you think it relates to your faith in Christ?


26 And when he (Paul) had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him. 30 And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. As a convert to Christianity, why might Paul have wanted to join the disciples in Jerusalem?
  2. Because he had formerly persecuted Christians, the disciples had trouble believing Paul was sincere. What three proofs did Barnabas give that Paul’s conversion was genuine (vs. 27)?
  3. What were the risks for Barnabas in vouching for Paul? Why did he enter into what was potentially a sticky church situation?
  4. What were the risks for Paul in continuing to preach the gospel? Why do you think he continued even amidst life-threatening opposition?
  5. What would your life look like—at home, at work—if you were compelled by the gospel, if you truly believed Jesus was more than worth it? Are there any areas or life situations where you need to take a stand for Christ or right an injustice?


Imagine how hard it must have been for those who had been on the receiving end of Saul’s wrath to invite him into their fellowship. Barnabas, whose name means “Son of Encouragement,” took action against this suspicion within the church. He stood up for Paul, believing he was called by God to preach in the name of Jesus. Barnabas took a risk to counter the suspicion of the church for what he knew to be right and true. He was willing to enter into an unjust situation. And Paul took a risk to continue preaching, even as there was a threat to his life. Both were willing to count the cost for the sake of the gospel. Living out our faith requires that we take risks sometimes. We might risk our reputation, our relationships, or our own comfort. Compelled by the Christ and the power of the gospel, they counted the cost because Jesus is more than worth it.

  • Thank God that he uses all things, even opposition to our faith, to grow us and use us to accomplish his mission.