Be an Ananias

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

15 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. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

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.

Acts 9:10-19

I admire Ananias. Saul had become infamous in Damascus. It might have been his first physical visit, but stories about him had spread. Followers of Christ everywhere dreaded news of his arrival. He had made it his life’s mission to honor God by getting rid of the new sect.

Until Jesus stopped him on the road. Overnight Saul became Paul, the fear of Christ followers transformed to friend. But how could Ananias have known? Following God’s directive sounded like a death wish, yet the man of God only asked for a little clarification and then off he went.

One man in this story who gets very little mention is Judas of Straight Street. What was Saul doing there? Was Judas a more traditional Jew or was he a follower of the Way? He didn’t seem to mind Ananias coming in to lay hands on Saul. And what about the guys who traveled with the infamous Pharisee? After what they’d seen, didn’t see, and heard had they become convinced they’d made a mistake in crucifying the gentle man who spoke with authority?

When we read the story of Saul becoming Paul, we understand his life was changed forever. But seldom do we consider the splash his conversion made. Where would you fit in the story, and how would you react?

Would you have been his comrades? These men agreed that the Jewish sect that followed Jesus was getting out of hand. Yet how could they argue with a bright light and a voice coming from nowhere? They’d been loyal to everything their parents had taught them. Could they abandon their faith for these new ideas? What about you? Are you stuck in any childhood beliefs that God has been trying to shake out of you? I grew up in the rules of religion, dressing appropriately for worship was drilled into me. I found it hard to break those ingrained ideas even after I knew in my heart that Jesus wanted relationship instead of rules and my church clothing options were completely man inspired.

Maybe you’re Judas. I’m guessing they’d planned on staying at his house from the time they left Jerusalem which means the man was probably an orthodox Jew. How did Paul’s conversion affect him? What happens to you when your friends get on fire for God? Have some of them left you behind in the faith because you didn’t want to change, or did you embrace their fire and hold on for the ride? Or is Judas the one who reported him to the Jewish leaders forcing him escape the city at night in a basket? Even today some rule following Christians don’t like it when their friends find freedom in a relationship with Jesus.

I hope you’re Ananias–a man who listened for God to speak, asked the right questions and followed God’s direction. Even though common sense told him his life was in danger, Ananias walked into the unknown to obey His Redeemer. Have you ever had the Savior send you into uncomfortable or dangerous situations? How did you answer? Ananias walked by faith, not by sight. He heard the voice of God and responded. Sometimes I wonder if we hear the voice of God less today because we’ve ignored it so often in the past. It’s time for the people of Christ to listen closely for Jesus to speak and then get up and walk into places we consider unsafe, unpleasant, or unclean.

Saul’s conversion caused a huge splash. It probably changed the life of his fellow travelers, and it pushed Ananias out of his comfort zone. It even showed the heart of Judas whichever way that story went. And it’s still changing lives today–my life and your life are forever different because we allowed Saul’s journey to becoming the Apostle Paul to challenge us, question our faith, and walk in faith like Ananias.

 


Read another story of faith
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Adira: Journey to Freedom
My first novel based on the story of Nehemiah
and his fictional niece
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About the author

Lynne feels blessed to know Jesus Christ. He's her Savior and her friend, and because of Christ her life is richer. So her passion has become to help others discover their full potential in Jesus so they can have the best life possible!

If you're interested in more detail, I invite you to visit https://lynnemodranski.com/store

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