Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing.So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision,“Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
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. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
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.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
this is a very important turning event for a powerful man we all know as Paul (Saul was his old name hehe).
Paul was a very successful missionary and planted many many churches.
and he has such a dramatic story of how he was at first a persecutor of the church,
God changed him, and he started being a powerful man in the early church history.
but i cant help but notice that this story is not just about Paul/Saul and Jesus.
there’s this disciple called Ananias.
Ananias prayed for Paul.
but is that all there is to the story?
i think not.
i think God wanted to teach Ananias to faithful and obedient.
i think God wanted to teach me about being faithful and obedient too through Ananias.
let me explain.
when Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
do you think he was just trying to double check if God made a mistake?
just in case he heard wrong maybe?
i think not.
i think after hearing the horrors and stories about what Saul/Paul was doing, and after hearing that Saul was coming into HIS town to look for people like HIM, with Ananias’ life in danger,
i think, that Ananias didn’t actually want to pray for Saul.
i wouldn’t even want to meet or go anywhere near this Saul.
this reminds me of the story of Jonah.
i think the story of Jonah is more about his rebellion than about him being eaten and vomited from by a fish just because he didnt taste that good.
God asked Jonah to preach to a people (Ninevites if im not mistaken).
the worst people at that time.
the most sinful.
and Jonah absolutely hated them.
they were doing totally detestable things.
things God hated. it’s gross. and horrible. and yucky.
but God wanted Jonah to preach to them.
Jonah was sure he wouldn’t be able to get his message into their thick skulls,
also, he hated them and wanted God to punish them instead.
so instead of travelling towards Nineveh,
he traveled the total opposite direction.
But eventually, after spending some time in the belly of the whale (just an expression),
he decided it’s wiser to be following and obeying God’s will.
he went and preached to the Ninevites.
and what he was afraid of happened:
they totally repented.
totally and wholly.
its so amazing that because of ONE man.
one obedient man, such a big change could happen.
of course, it’s God who did it, not Jonah.
but God wanted to use a willing hearted man.
Ananias trusted God and met Saul despite what he felt about Saul.
Saul was blind, and if God healed him, how did Ananias know that Saul wouldnt just take his sword out and kill him on the spot?
shouldnt Ananias just chop Saul’s head off while he was vulnerable?
but Ananias obeyed God anyways.
you know, i do have a problem with authoritative figures sometimes.
namely my parents and God Himself.
i like to be disobedient.
i like to think myself above the law because i think i know better.
i think i know the purpose and motive behind the law, and because of that i think i can break some laws for my convenience as long as i knew the real purpose of some laws.
but i see myself being more and more disobedient from there on.
it becomes ok.
sometimes i don’t want to obey.
and since i’ve disobeyed other laws, i think this other law? should be fine as well.
its so small matter.
sometimes God speaks to me clearly like He spoke to Jonah and Ananias.
but sometimes it’s just more comfortable or more fun to not obey what God wants.
but i have to remember. its not about me.
it’s about God and what He wants and what He has planned for me and for people around me.
obeying Him not only would benefit me, it would benefit so many people.
look at what Jonah and Ananias and all the people in the bible did.
look at the simple things they did and how many people they have impacted.
Ananias just prayed for Saul.
probably hung out with him for a while during recovery.
Boom churches all over Asia.
God changed Saul’s name to Paul, and used him so mightily for the extension of God’s kingdom.
Ananias was part of that.
but disciple Ananias needed to be obedient to impact the world.
he needed to choose obedience.
so do I.