This past Sunday, we continued our journey through the book of Acts. Our focus was on Acts 9:10-19, where a man named Ananias received a vision from God to go to a man named Saul, lay hands on him, pray for him, and be God’s agent through with this Saul would be made able to see and receive the Holy Spirit. Here is the text –
10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened. (Acts 9:10-19, ESV)
Here are the takeaways provided on Sunday –
➤ We may not all be able to be a Paul, but we can be an Ananias.
Ananias is described as a “disciple at Damascus.” There is no title nor is there anything identifier except “disciple.” We may not believe we have that much to offer, especially when we compare ourselves to those giants of the faith, but we can all express the same characteristics that we see in Ananias – faith, availability, and faithfulness.
➤ God is looking for willing servants who are willing to say, “Here I am.”
It has been said that our best ability is our availability. When Jesus called Ananias, he volunteered, “Here I am.” What he was asked to do was difficult. He had concerns. He had questions. But he gave his “yes” before he knew what Jesus was asking of him. May we show the same willingness to serve when we are called.
➤ When God calls us to do something difficult, trust that He is already aware of the difficulty and is preparing us to face it.
What Jesus asked Ananias to do sound a bit risky considering that Saul was out to get those who trusted in Jesus. Sometimes we may wonder if God knows what He’s getting us into, but, of course, He does. Not only does He know, He has prepared us for the moment and goes with us into it. If it is God’s will, then He can make a way for us.
➤ We dare not assume that anyone is out of the reach of God’s grace.
There is no sin so great that God cannot forgive it and no sinner so stained that God cannot cleanse them. Saul was likely the last person anyone expected to put his faith in Jesus, but that was precisely what happened. That person who seems so far from God is not beyond His reach.
➤ Not everyone’s salvation experience will be as dramatic as Saul’s, but we were all just as lost and blind as he was.
Saul’s conversion to Christ began as He encountered the risen Jesus in all His glory. This encounter left him confused over everything he had learned and been taught, and it left him physically blind. It was only when Ananias obeyed God and went to visit Saul and pray for him that Saul received his sight and the Holy Spirit. Your conversion may not be so dramatic, but that doesn’t mean it is any less real!
Anyone who is a child of God was once an enemy of God. Anyone who has new life in Jesus was once dead in their sins and trespasses. The angels’ rejoicing is no less over an 8 year old who comes to Jesus through the ministry of his godly family and church than over the 80 year old abusive drunk who surrenders to Jesus on a hospital bed.
➤ Being faithful to the Lord may come at a very high price.
Ananias took a risk going to Saul. It might have crossed my mind to put my hands around Saul’s neck than to lay hands on him and pray for him. Saul, who would later become Paul, certainly knew there was danger in following Jesus. And we have countless brothers and sisters in the faith who face daily hardship and persecution simply because they are faithful in following Jesus. Faithfulness may come at a very high price, but consider what they price may be for unfaithfulness.
Our adventure in Acts continues. If you are in Greensboro, Georgia and are looking for a church home, we’d love to have you visit us at Grace Fellowship. You can also find our services online at gracefellowship.ws and on our Facebook page.