Saul had been persecuting Christians who were living out their faith. Because of his oppressive behavior, his reputation had birthed fear in the hearts of many individuals. However, Saul’s mode of behavior was soon to end as he had a head-on collision with Jesus Himself.
Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said,“I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Acts 9:1-9
During this particular period, God reached out through a vision to a man named Ananias. Immediately, in response to God’s call, Ananias answered, “Here I am, Lord.” However, when the summoning came from God to join Him in a particular work, Ananias was not too eager to obey.
Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, 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.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; 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 bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened. Acts 9:10-19
Because of Saul’s harassment of Christians, Ananias felt it necessary to issue a warning. “Lord, I have heard from many about this man” (Acts 9:13.) Yet, as Ananias attempted to advise the Lord of Saul’s past, the Lord immediately informed Ananias of Saul’s future. “But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine.”(Acts 9:15.)
Ananias was used by God to minister at a time most needed in Saul’s life. Yet he could have missed a divine assignment due to his perception about Saul. May we always be willing to go to whomever God sends us regardless of the person’s reputation or past. May we be used to remind people of their future with God instead of dwelling on their past or current status.
About the Writer:
Shea is the mother of two and nana of five and enjoys both roles tremendously. She loves the opportunity to serve through various ministries at First Baptist Dallas as well as Entrusted Hope Ministry. She also speaks to women’s groups, assists with biblical counseling when opportunities arise and is constantly working to develop women’s Bible studies. Shea received her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi; her master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; and began her doctoral work at Southwestern this past fall.