PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• When Paul (formerly Saul) had his life-changing moment on the Road to Damascus, the world changed.
His extraordinary conversion to Christianity and willingness to be used by God has had a tremendous impact on Christian history that continues today.
The Holy Spirit used him in powerful ways including authorship of 13 books in the New Testament, possibly 14 if you side with the scholars who believe he also wrote Hebrews.
But in the middle of his story is an unsung hero of the faith.
Ananias was a man of legendary obedience, and lest there be any confusion—this is a different Ananias from the Ananias/Sapphira of Acts 5.
Two men; same name.
Couple that with the whole Saul turned to Paul issue, and this can get a little confusing!
For the sake of clarity, I’ll refer to Paul as Saul until he’s converted.
In Acts 9:10, God appeared to Ananias in a vision, and instructed him to go to Saul.
Ananias was shocked by the request.
To this point, Saul hadn’t been exactly subtle in his absolute hatred of Christians.
In Acts 9:1a and 2b, we read of Saul’s feelings: “Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers…He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.”
So yeah… the likelihood of a successful interaction between Saul and a Christian seemed like a pretty tall order to Ananias.
In his shock and confusion by the request, Ananias questioned God.
Side note: we’re allowed to question God, provided we do it respectfully (check out Habakkuk).
And I believe Ananias did handle his question the right way.
He was simply so surprised by the request that he reminded God that this was the man who hated Christians.
If Ananias had been disrespectful or incredulous with God, I don’t believe God would have answered him.
But in Acts 9:15, God explained, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel.”
And in verse 17, Ananias went.
It made no sense to put himself in front of this angry man who was out to destroy the very faith Ananias lived by.
But he did it.
In the second part of verse 17, Ananias is quoted, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
I’m very intrigued by the use of the word “Brother.”
This term is one of acceptance and love.
It seems that Ananias was not only a man of legendary obedience, he also embraced the commandment to love your enemies (Matthew 5:44).
While we look at this story and focus on what happened to Saul, let’s not overlook Ananias.
He gave us an extraordinary example of obedience and love.
Today, as you pray, thank God for men like Ananias who are an example of faith in Him.
While Ananias may have been fearful, his faith was bigger.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you model the same kind of trust when God directs you.