His was a common name in his day. Ananias had the privilege of being mentioned not once, but twice in a New Testament letter. The meaning of his name is, “The Lord is gracious, or shows grace.”
Imagine the scene he found himself thrust into: He had heard that Saul was breathing down the necks of the Master’s disciples, out for the kill. Saul went to the Jewish Chief Priest and got arrest warrants to take to the meeting places in Damascus (150 miles north) so that if he found anyone there belonging to the Way, whether men or women, he could arrest them and bring them south to Jerusalem.
When Saul got to the outskirts of Damascus, he was suddenly dazed by a blinding flash of light. As he fell to the ground, he heard a voice: “Saul, Saul, why are you out to get me?” He said, “Who are you, Master?” “I am Jesus, the One you’re hunting down. I want you to get up and enter the city. In the city you’ll be told what to do next.”
His companions stood there dumbstruck—they could hear the sound, but couldn’t see anyone—while Saul, picking himself up off the ground, found himself stone-blind. They had to take him by the hand and lead him into Damascus. He continued blind for three days.
There was a disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Master spoke to him in a vision: “Ananias.” “Yes, Master?” he answered. “Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He’s there praying. He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again.”
Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.” But the Master said, “Don’t argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews.”
So Ananias went and found the house, placed his hands on blind Saul, and said, “Brother Saul, the Master sent me, the same Jesus you saw on your way here. He sent me so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” No sooner were the words out of his mouth than something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes—he could see again! He got to his feet, was baptized, and sat down with them to a hearty meal. Saul spent a few days getting acquainted with the Damascus disciples, but then went right to work, wasting no time, preaching in the meeting places that this Jesus was the Son of God.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21.
Staff and students in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship believe we are called, like Ananias, to help men and women find a relationship with God. Will you surrender yourself today to live like Ananias, a gracious one? Will you embrace a lifestyle of obedience and availability to the Master? To whom might the Lord want you play the part of Ananias and show grace?
Serve globally. Like Ananias, let’s live a risky witness to help another person find freedom and be set free to a clear and reconciled identity in Christ. Do not, like Ananias, assume some people are beyond God’s reach. God is calling us to partner with Him in the greatest rescue operation of all time and no one is too tough for God.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz