Acts 9.10, 12-13, 17; 22.12
Saul of Tarsus, the iron fist of the Sanhedrin, the strictest of all Pharisees, the prosecutor of religious heresy, was en route to Damascus with authority in hand to bind and imprison the heretical Christians of that city. Among the disciples residing there was a man named Ananias. Perhaps he had heard that Saul was heading his way and had begun to mentally prepare himself to be hunted down, arrested, imprisoned, and eventually killed for following the new movement called “the Way.” Whatever the case, I am sure he was stunned by the Lord’s command to go meet this dangerous enemy face-to-face! His words of protest, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Thy saints at Jerusalem…,” attest to his alarm and fear.
But twice God commanded him to “Go,” and to his great credit, though fearful for his life, he went – and what a night to remember! Instead of finding a fire-breathing persecutor, he found a man humbled from having personally met the risen Lord on the Damascus highway. Three days and nights of fasting and prayer had prepared Saul for Ananias’s simple message, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me to you that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit…arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (9.17; 22.16).
The story of Ananias challenges us: Who might God want us to approach with the message of His grace? Who do we know who is the least likely to respond to Christ – yet just might if someone would only reach out to them in faith?