LITTLE MAN IN A BIG PLACE
Lord, thank You for using common people mightily.
Read ACTS 9:10–19a
10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord,” he answered.
11 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. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
15 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. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “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.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul in Damascus and Jerusalem
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them’ (Ps 8:4)?
Ananias is an ordinary believer. He’s a devout and well-respected member of the Damascus church, as Paul later relates (Acts 22:12), and in many ways he’s just like you or me – so why does God choose him to initiate Saul into the community? It’s not because he’s immediately responsive to God’s direction. Ananias gives a list of reasons why it would be a bad idea to expose himself to Saul as a follower of Jesus. God shows him the big picture: Saul is God’s chosen instrument, not just within Damascus but throughout the nation of Israel, to high status and low status, then beyond into the rest of the world. Ananias stands a bit like Mary at the annunciation, wondering at why God has chosen him, but knowing that privileged obedience is the only option.
Ananias’ first word to Saul is important. He acknowledges him as ‘brother’, now a fellow believer, and accepts him despite his previous history. He places his hands on Saul, who is filled with the Holy Spirit and has his sight restored. Saul is baptized, presumably by Ananias, and begins a new phase in his life.
Sacramental actions are significant in our lives. They are moments when God touches us in a special way. They are the big moments. Here Ananias lays on hands for filling with the Holy Spirit and for healing, and he probably performs Saul’s baptism. It’s God who gives Ananias the priestly authority to do so. For some of us this is an example of the priesthood of all believers. For others it’s a unique situation. What matters is that Ananias, like Mary before him, doesn’t hold back, waiting for someone more worthy to appear. However little he may feel, he is willing to do God’s big business.
It is God’s Spirit who turns little people into God’s big people. Pray to be filled, to be inflated, in order to fulfill His purposes for you today.
Lord, give us ears like Ananias so that we can recognize the sound of Your voice when we hear it.
Book and Author Intros
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.