Ananias: Ready to Serve
He was a little nervous about the situation. In fact, he was very edgy about it. He was being sent to an enemy. He was supposed to go to visit a man who had done much harm to the Lord's people. It was going to take some moral strength to do the thing he was assigned to do.
Courage is a necessary trait for one to be pleasing to God. Some of the things disciples of Jesus are required to do take courage. We can think of those who were known for their courage: Noah, Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel and others. But living by faith in any century requires boldness. Not just for them. For us as well.
We think of the apostles hauled before the council and threatened and ordered not to preach anymore about Jesus (Acts 4:18). After their release, they prayed that the Lord would grant unto them boldness to proclaim the word (Acts 4:29).
We want to notice the courage of Ananias and learn from it. He is sent to visit Saul of Tarsus, a man obsessed with destroying the church. Disciples of Jesus could not be put to death fast enough, as far as Saul was concerned. The Lord tells Ananias to go and visit this obsessed and driven man, Saul. (Acts 9:10-22).
Ananias Was Ready to Obey
“Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, 'Ananias.' And he said, “Here am I, Lord.'” (Acts 9:10).
His answer when the Lord called was ``Here am I.” It's no accident that Ananias' response was so open hearted. This is the typical response of a man/woman of faith and courage when opportunity knocks. If there is some special way I can serve the Lord's interest today, then “Lord, Here I am.”
We recall the same attitude in Samuel (1 Samuel 3:10) and Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8) and Abraham (Hebrews 11:8). As the people of God we need to continue to be ready to teach others the gospel as Paul was ready to do (Romans 1:15 ).
It takes a certain amount of courage to always speak and live the truth, and to grasp the opportunities to serve (2 Timothy 4:1,2; Hebrews 12:1-3). How ready are you when life presents its opportunities to serve the Lord?
Ananias Was Realistic
“But Ananias said, 'Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Thy saints at Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:13).
Here Ananias expresses an concern, but not a refusal to obey. He wanted to understand. Here was a man who had persecuted the church and had many brethren killed. I get the idea that Ananias will go, whether he receives a Divine explanation or not; but would like to understand the situation.
He is being realistic, but not using that as an excuse not to obey. There was a time when courageous men of God sought protection/fled for safety: Elijah fled from the wrath of the evil Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 19:3). Paul fled persecution at Thessalonica and went to Berea (Acts 17:10). Later, he was conducted to Athens by night because of the danger (Acts 17:14,15).
Because Ananias perceives the danger, this makes his willingness to go all the more impressive. We need to mix realism, or wisdom, with our courage. Study the situation and make a righteous judgment. Even Jesus hid Himself for personal safety on occasion and encouraged His disciples to be as “shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16). Being courageous and being stupid are two different things. But never should we disobey the Lord because we are afraid.
Ananias Was Receptive To God's Word
“And Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming has sent me so that you may regain your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:17).
Ananias realized (through the word of God given to him in the vision) what was expected of him and he had the courage to do it. God's word to us, the Scripture, expects certain things of us as well which require courage to obey. Do you have what it takes to live your life based on what is true despite what the world demands of you? (Philippians 1:27-30) The message is, never fear to obey the Lord (Revelation 2:9-11; 21:8).
We must also study the word of God and have a receptive heart to what God has written so that we will have the courage to do it. Ananias got his message directly, but the written message to us is no less important! (Ephesians 5:15-17).
Ananias Saw Great Results
“And immediately he (Saul - J.Q.) began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying 'He is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:20). What courage it took to go to this persecutor of the church and teach him the truth. (cf. Acts 22:13-16). Ananias had no idea what he was helping to unleash upon the world in this new convert who would now be known as Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus! And we never know who the person that we convert may convert. I wonder if Ananias lived to witness Paul's three missionary journeys.
You may never know the effect you have had on others by your courage, faith, example and work. (Remember the movie starring James Stewart; “It's A Wonderful Life”). We need to take advantage of the opportunities every time we get them (James 4:13-17). Be like Ananias!
From Expository Files 22.9; September 2015