Saul And Ananias

“Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision.  “Ananias.”.  And he said, “Here I am, Lord” (Acts 9:10).  While we recognize Saul’s intense hatred for the followers of Jesus, his complete devotion to what he believed was right, and his evident sincerity and good conscience, still he lacked what the Lord was offering — salvation through the blood of Christ.  Fasting and praying might indicate a change of direction, but still, Saul needed to come in contact with the Lord’s will for his life.

The book of Acts indicates that when someone needed to hear gospel, the gospel was presented to that person by a “preacher.” The  gospel is communicated by a messenger.  “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15).  Ananias is summoned.  Ananias, at first, was reluctant to go to Saul.  “Brother Saul,” a common greeting, was not a statement about Saul’s spiritual condition, yea or nay.  Saul could not see; maybe Ananias wanted to convey warmth and good will to this blind persecutor.  This meeting resulted in the scales falling from Saul’s eyes and his baptism (presumably by Ananias). Only then did Saul eat some food.

“Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.  Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.  Then all who heard were amazed and said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?”  (Acts 9:19-21).  While the Christians in Damascus were naturally skeptical about the change in Saul, it is clear that he was soon accepted into the fellowship of believers.

When Saul obeyed the gospel, he was added to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47.)  His relationship to Christ changed.  No longer was Saul a persecutor; now as he preached Christ, he was often persecuted for this radical change.  Saul immediately began doing what the Lord wanted him to do; he preached that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Christ of God.  He argued about who Jesus was; he appealed to the OT in support of his preaching; he increased in strength and courage.  Imagine the surprise of the authorities in the synagogues – those who had granted him approval to kill Christians – as Saul now worked with the followers of Christ.

Following Jesus always comes with a price.  “But their plot became known to Saul.  And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him.  Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket” (Acts 9:24-25).  Saul openly traveled the road to Damascus, pursuing Jesus’ disciples.  Now, he leaves Damascus under the cover of night in order to escape with his life.  Paul wrote to Timothy: “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution”  (2 Timothy  3:12).  Paul wrote to the Philippians:  “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).  Are you on the Damascus R0ad?  – Randy Harshbarger, Sunday, June 7, 2015