Ananias and Saul

Saul’s conversion story found in Acts 9 describes a dramatic encounter between him and Jesus on the road to Damascus…the encounter that started Saul down a new path that would make him the most prolific evangelist of the early church and writer in the New Testament.

One important and less well-known piece of the story is between Jesus and another man named Ananias. Ananias doesn’t get a lot of attention. Nobody really remembers him. The Lord didn’t blind him with a bright light. The Lord didn’t change his name. The Lord did not send him to the ends of the earth to tell others about Him.

What do we know about Ananias? He was a disciple of Jesus, and he lived in Damascus. Later in Acts, Paul describes him as “a devout observer of the law and respected by all the Jews”. Ananias had a relationship with the Lord because He recognized His voice; “So the Lord said to him, ‘Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight” (Acts 9:11).

Ananias was faithful in what God had laid out for him to do. The fruits of his caring strengthened Saul, who was no doubt wondering just what the Lord would do.

As Ananias laid hands on him, Saul’s eyesight was restored immediately.

That is miraculous in its own right, but what’s even more amazing is that the first thing Saul chose to do after receiving his sight was to get baptized. This was a total transformation in Saul’s life. Just days earlier, he was in pursuit of the Christians and was hunting them down. Suddenly, he is identifying with the very people that he had hated.

This simple act by Ananias, caring for one person, changed Christian history. Saul was transformed to Paul and filled with the J20OY of the Lord! He spent the entirety of his life going into the world with the Gospel message.

The example given to us by Ananias is one we should follow. You and I may never be asked to change the world, but you and I will be asked, from time to time, to care for another so that you change the world for that person.

Amen.