To Whom Are You Ananias?

12 Jun

Screenshot 2015-06-12 07.39.08Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”  -Acts 9:10-12

As we read of Saul’s miraculous encounter with the Risen Christ as he made his way to Damascus to gather up Christians to try to squash the movement known as The Way, we sometimes overlook the miracle that was happening at the same time in Damascus. We don’t know much about Ananias, other than he was a disciple living in Damascus. But his obedience in faith helped Saul the persecutor become Paul the Apostle and missionary.

Ananias was likely on Paul’s list of folks to round up and drag back to Jerusalem for punishment. And now Jesus tells Ananias to teach Saul about grace! Yikes! Actually, the first order of business was for Ananias to heal Saul’s damaged vision. The blinding light left Saul blind and the Lord used Ananias to restore both physical and spiritual sight to Saul.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others.”

Perhaps Paul was remembering back to his friend Ananias when he penned those words. While Ananias was fearful and had reason to avoid Saul, Jesus said to go to him and heal him and teach him. He humbled himself, thought of Saul’s needs, and counted Saul as more significant than himself. He went to Judas’ house on Straight Street and ministered to Saul.

Who is the Saul in your life to whom you are to be Ananias? Are there people you’re avoiding because they are opposed to your faith? Do they persecute you? Do they breath threats against you? Do you feel justified in staying far away from them?

Maybe God wants you to meet them on Straight Street. In Damascus, Straight Street was like London’s Oxford Street or New York’s Fifth Avenue. It represents the marketplace, where all aspects of life interact. Jesus didn’t have Ananias and Saul meet in the synagogue, where spiritual things are supposed to happen, but in the center of town where life happens.

Listen for the voice of God to invite you to bring healing, restoration, and insight to someone who is against you today. Maybe God is telling them to go to you. Are you ready for the encounter? Can you demonstrate grace to that person who is so antagonistic to your faith? Can you bring spiritual, and even physical, healing to the one who makes a mockery of Christ?

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