Dear Brothers and Sisters,
You do not hear much about the Ananias in the Bible that came to Saul after he was blinded and laid hands on him and he received his sight. We usually remember the Ananias that along with his wife Sapphira were killed instantly for lying to the Holy Spirit and others about how much they sold their property for. It seems that way in life these days as well. We remember the worst things about people more than the good. We are going to attempt to remember the good about this Ananias from Damascus. He was a disciple or follower of Jesus. He was a godly man that was committed to the law and was well thought of by the Jews living in Damascus. God chose him to be the one to go to Saul and minister to him. Initially Ananias was hesitant, but just for a moment. After all, Saul was coming to Damascus with the authority to arrest all those that call upon the name of the Lord. The Lord replied, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine….” Ananias quickly responded in obedience to God’s command, choosing to fear God rather than man (always a good choice). We do not need to ask what happens next if you are at all familiar with the New Testament. Just look who God used to write much of it. Read on in Acts and you will see the immediate change in Saul who would now be called Paul. Look at Acts 9:19-22 (NASB95) :
19 and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,
20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
21 All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?”
22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ.
A couple things strike me in what I read today.
One, Ananias was simply obedient and God used him to reach a man that was used by God in a mighty way. Who knows who God may be leading us to speak to. Let’s not hesitate when He calls us to speak.
Secondly, Ananias was open with God about his feelings or reservations, but he listened to God’s Word or voice and obeyed. We must be able to express ourselves to God, but ultimately need to rely on what He says, not what circumstances or culture tell us. We definitely must have the fear of God in us rather than the fear of man. Man can not do anything with our soul.
The third thing I see is in the verses following Saul’s conversion. He immediately began to proclaim Jesus. Often times we think we need a long time of learning after receiving Christ before we are able to witness. If you are truly born again, then you should know what it takes for someone else to be born again. Once I know how to drive a car, I can teach someone else. I do not have to drive for thirty years before teaching someone else. Obviously the Spirit of God is vital in drawing someone to Christ, but we are responsible for sharing the Gospel. And the minute we respond to the Gospel and are saved, we know enough. Sure people may be amazed and wonder what is going on here, and may want to watch and make sure it is real, but you simply need to respond obediently. If you do not feel you know the Gospel enough to proclaim it, then something is wrong. Talk with me, talk with someone, definitely seek out God in His Word.
Be an Ananias today. Listen to God, and follow what He tells you to do. Go! Who knows what life will be changed as a result!