Apostle Paul’s divine calling was spectacular and the purpose of his calling was very clear. But do you know that before God revealed to Paul the purpose of his calling, He had already made it know to a man called Ananias?
Which of the Ananiases in The Bible am I referring to? I will tell you in a moment.
The three people called Ananias in the Bible
There are three people referred to as Ananias in the New Testament. One was the husband of Sapphira who lied to the early disciples about the value of the property he sold and brought to the feet of the disciples.
Consequent upon that, he dropped dead for lying and the chapter of his life got closed in an instant (see Acts 5:1-5). Unfortunately, his wife suffered the same fate on the same day.
Another Ananias we know of was the high priest who existed during the heat of Paul’s ministry. He was amongst the people who falsely accused Paul of making trouble in the city.
He also plotted by all means not only to have Paul convicted before the governor, but to have him killed secretly (Acts 24:1-7). But he was unable to garner enough evidence to convict Paul…
Between the first Ananias who lied to the Apostles and the other Ananias the high priest who was bent on destroying Paul was yet another Ananias who was a humble disciple of Christ in Damascus.
There were three people called Ananias in the NT. Ananias the husband of Sapphira, Ananias the high priest and Ananias the disciple at Damascus.Tweet
The Ananias at Damascus was the one God used to heal Paul (then called Saul) of his sudden blindness, he was the one who encouraged Paul in the Lord and eventually commissioned him to ministry. It is this Ananias that is the subject of this post.
Enter the story…
Ananias ministers to Saul
Saul was on his way to Damascus to continue his persecution of believers in Christ when he had a blinding encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Following that experience, he surrendered to the lordship of Jesus Christ after Jesus had introduced Himself to him as the One being persecuted.
… “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” …“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:5-6)
“You will be told what you must do,” indicates that someone must be in the city waiting to dish out instruction to the newest convert to Christianity at the time. That man was our man Ananias, whom the writer of Acts described simply as a certain disciple in Damascus.
This Ananias received a vision from the Lord on how he should go about the business of discipling Saul, the new convert at hand; He was to go look for Saul at the house where he was lodged and heal him of his nascent blindness.
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” (Acts 9:11-12).
After a reasonable objection to the commanded mission, Ananias set out to meet Saul, and accomplished the purpose of his commission. And his message to the new disciple was amiable and clear:
“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” Acts 9:17-19.
Why Ananias was sent to Saul
From the foregoing Scripture, I can reasonable conclude that Ananias was sent to Saul to accomplish the following things:
- To heal Saul of his blindness.
- To lay hands on Saul to receive the Holy Spirit.
- To carry out water baptism on Saul.
- To strengthen and encourage Saul.
- To commission Saul to ministry.
A faithful disciple that he was, Ananias did as Jesus Christ had commanded him and he then released Saul to his calling to preach the gospel.
Before that, there was something the Lord had revealed to Ananias that Saul was called to follow for the rest of his life: Saul’s ministry direction: the people Lord sent him to reach with the gospel.
The revelation of Apostle Paul’s ministry direction
All the things Ananias accomplished at his first meeting with Saul were for the latter’s immediate benefits. But there was something of a larger significance in the beautiful encounter: the ministry focus of Saul as revealed by the Lord.
Recall what Jesus said to Saul on the road to Damascus: “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
While the Lord was giving that directive to Saul, He was also preparing Ananias to go meet up with Saul to commission him to ministry. And in the interim, Jesus had revealed to Ananias the main purpose of calling Saul to fulltime ministry.
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel (Acts 9:15).
You see, God is not the author of confusion. As He said to Saul, “you will be told what you must do,” He also revealed to Ananias to go tell Saul what he must do. So there was no room for doubts between the two strangers.
Jesus categorically stated that Saul was His chosen instrument to proclaim His name to three groups of people: Gentiles, Kings (of Gentiles) and the people of Israel. And the person God trusted to receive this direct revelation of this message was the man known as a certain disciple in Damascus. His name was Ananias.
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