In a house on this street in Damascus, perhaps the key conversion in Christendom took place, and instrumental in this conversion was a man who we never meet again in the bible.
The story within the story – that of the calling of Ananias, has always caught my attention. Who would God use to go to Saul and declare God’s call on his life? It’s obvious to me that Ananias was the candidate because he was living a ready Christian life.
“The Lord told Ananias, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight” Acts 9:11,12.
Our focused Encounter with Jesus for this month is the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-19). In a house on this street in Damascus, perhaps the key conversion in Christendom took place, and instrumental in this conversion was a man who we never meet again in the bible.
The story within the story – that of the calling of Ananias, has always caught my attention. Who would God use to go to Saul and declare God’s call on his life? It’s obvious to me that Ananias was the candidate because he was living a ready Christian life. He is called a disciple – one who follows in the dust of the Rabbi – observing Jesus – His teaching and His way of life. When the Lord spoke to him in a vision, his response was, “Yes Lord.” He was ready to listen.
But he also had a brain, knowing about the reputation of the persecutor Saul. He conversed with the Lord about these real issues. It is clear that he had a dynamic relationship with the Lord.
The risk for Ananias was clear – he was being asked to enter the jaws of the dragon. Saul was the number one enemy of the church – seeking to imprison believers and agreeing to the martyrdom of Stephen. If he wasn’t hearing the Lord rightly, his days were numbered!
But he was sure of the Lord’s voice, so he went to Straight Street. What a wonderful realization that the same Spirit who had spoken to him had also been speaking to Saul! God was preparing the ground for the Seed to be sown! In verses 15 and 16 God pulled back the curtain of the future to give Ananias a picture of the breadth of what Saul/Paul would do for the Kingdom of God – he saw and understood the prophetic word! I love that, on the basis of the Lord’s word to him, he called Saul a ‘brother.’ What a reward to place hands on enemy number one and confer the Holy Spirit’s filling upon him – and then to witness a wonderful healing! Ananias would have lived the rest of his life so thankful that he said ‘yes’ to God on that day!
Isn’t it interesting to think that God Himself could have gone to Saul and told him all the things He told Ananias to say? But the reality of it is that God has deputized His people with authority to carry out His will on the earth. We are in training for ruling with Him in eternity. God’s plan includes working through you and me to accomplish His will. Not always comfortable and not without risk at times. But it also comes with great rewards. During this missions month of February, let’s be sensitive to what He may be saying. If you aren’t sure it is Him, then have a conversation with Him. The Lord knows how to speak loudly enough so you will know it is Him!
This week I have released the latest Encounter podcast with Earle Davies from our church. You may know him from playing violin on our worship team. You will glean good things from his story – go to the church website – then to ‘resources’ – then to ‘podcasts.’ I will include the ‘anchorbolts’ story in next week’s blog – you will get it when you listen.
Pastor Leon Throness