The Apostle Paul was formerly known as Saul. Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee in Jerusalem after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, swore to wipe out all believers of Jesus and take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. He got letters from the high priest, authorizing him to arrest all followers of Jesus in the city of Damascus.
On the road to Damascus, Saul and his companions were struck down by a blinding light, brighter than the noonday sun.
Saul heard a voice say to him: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” (Acts 9:4)
When Saul asked who was speaking to him, the voice replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting…Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:5-6)
Saul’s companions also heard the voice but did not see anyone, and they stood speechless. When Saul opened his eyes, he could not see anything. His companions led him by the hand into Damascus to a man named Judas, on Straight Street. For three days Saul was blind and did not eat or drink anything.
Meanwhile, Jesus appeared in a vision to a disciple in Damascus named Ananias and told him to go to Saul. Ananias was afraid because he knew Saul’s reputation as a merciless persecutor of the church.
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to proclaim My name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.
At the repeated instruction from the Lord, this is Ananias’ response and the outcome his response leads to.
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord – Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here – has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,
19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.”
After Ananias has done according to the words of the Lord, Saul was baptized into the Christian faith. He went on to stay with the disciples in Damascus for three days. And thereafter, he gave his life to the works of proclaiming the Gospel, and adopted the name Paul.
If Saul had remained a Jewish Pharisee persecuting the church, we would be missing thirteen of twenty-seven books of the New Testament written by Paul, and Christianity’s early major expansion to the Gentiles.
However, maybe very few people would notice “Ananias” and sometimes Ananias is known as the forgotten hero.
In Acts 9:10, we read that God called Ananias in a vision and instructed him to go to the house on Straight Street to look for and pray for Saul, the well-known ruthless persecutor of the church.
Imagine that you are Ananias. What do you think you will be thinking? What will be your reply to God’s instruction?
Ananais obeyed God’s instruction despite not fully understanding it.
What do you think Ananias might be thinking that caused him to go to the house in Straight Street?
What do you think might have happened if Ananias did not obey God that day?
God gave us His commandment in Matthew 28:18-20 to go into the world to share the Gospel. What do you think would happen, if we do not obey?
Jesus said that we are His friends if we do what He commands us. Do you think you can consider Jesus your Friend if you do not share the good news of God’s salvation plan with your friends, loved ones and those around you?
I pray that even as we receive the teaching of the Lord today, we commit to live a life of obedience for the glory of Jesus’ Name.
Let us pray.
Dear Lord Jesus, help me in my efforts to fulfil the Great Commission that I will not be biased or allow my own judgement to stop me from sharing the Gospel with others. Help me know that You love everyone and Your love can reach anyone, regardless of race, gender or perceived hardness of heart. Help me to be obedient to Your prompting to share Your Word with whoever You want me to and help me not listen to my own voice and my own fears. Use me Lord, as an instrument of Your peace even as I seek to lead others know of Your love for them. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.