Where would Saul of Tarsus have been without Ananias?
Most of the time when we talk about Acts 9 we talk about the conversion of Saul, but equally important is Ananias. What a task he was assigned! How would you have liked to have been appointed the one to go talk to the man who is known for murdering Christians? I am sure many of us would have second thoughts, at least. Ananias certainly was skeptical (Acts 9:13-14).
Ananias was a man who was a Christian. He was a devout man according to the law (Acts 22: 12). How else would you describe a Christian? Being devout did not mean he was sinless but that he was blameless. Ananias was a man who obeyed God. Even after Ananias expressed his doubt about teaching Saul, he obeyed the Lord. “Ananias went his way and entered the house …” (Acts 9:17). God’s commands are for our good. While Ananias questioned the Lord, he knew he ought to obey His voice. Devout people do all they can to please the Lord. The Lord wanted Ananias to go teach Saul. So he did. We must be as willing to obey God as Ananias was. How else will the lost be saved?
Ananias was a man who loved the lost. Christians must have love for lost souls. Jesus did (Lk. 19:10). When God called Ananias, he said, “Here I am, Lord.” He did not yet know what he was going to be called to do, but he was ready to go. Later, after he learned his assignment, he questioned the Lord (Acts 9:13-14). The Lord said, “… he is a chosen vessel…I will show him many things he must suffer for my names sake” (Acts 9:15-16). Ananias feared Saul but the Lord is telling him that the man who was once his enemy would after this be his friend. It took a lot of courage for Ananias to go to Saul. He heard how much damage Saul had done to the saints of God and how Saul was willing to put them in prison. But, the Lord said, “Go,” and Ananias went. The way the cause of Christ grows is by each one of us sharing the gospel message with someone else. Maybe even someone we are skeptical about, maybe even legitimately skeptical. But, the Lord says, “Go.” A Christian is one who has already made up his mind what he will do when the Lord presents the opportunity. “Here I am, Lord, use me.” Better get ready to do some teaching.
Ananias was a man who knew God’s saving plan. When Paul recounts this event he tells how Ananias instructed him relative to God’s plan for his life. Then Saul, already believing Jesus was the Christ, was instructed to be baptized in order to wash away his sins. If baptism is not necessary to wash away sins, why did Ananias tell him to be baptized? Therefore, baptism must be necessary to wash away sins. Ananias knew God’s plan for saving lost man and he taught Saul, who was as lost as any man has ever been. He was a murderer. Who would have thought he was a candidate for God’s grace? God knew and He instructed Ananias to teach him. Folks, the plan is easy to show. If there is a willing heart, like Saul’s, that heart will receive the plan of God. We butt heads and become discouraged because we try to convince people whose hearts are either not ready or are completely uninterested. When a soul is ready to be saved, that soul will do what Saul did when he was taught.
Ananias was a man of “good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there” (Acts 22:12). His reputation was known among his peers. Who else would you call to teach a man like Saul, another murderer? No, you would call a man who is known to be faithful and of good report. Who then could doubt the authenticity of what Saul’s obedience to God? Ananias was one of Saul’s greatest witnesses to his being truly a Christian. The reason God wants us to be of “good report” among our fellow man is for the same reason. If we are trying to present the message of the gospel while living like the world around us, we will fail. The gospel must first make a difference in our hearts.
We owe Ananias a great debt. I suppose God could have commissioned another man to go teach Saul if Ananias had refused to go. But he didn’t. Because he went, Saul became a Christian, and we are touched by his life today. Paul owed a lot to Ananias. He took the chance; he obeyed God; he shared the gospel message; he lived the kind of life that made the message meaningful.
Who is your Ananias?
Won’t you be an Ananias for someone else? Make a difference in some one’s life! Share the gospel!
by Rickie Jenkins
Book to read: How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It is a book about how to increase your influence.