In Acts 9 the spotlight undoubtedly shines brightly upon Saul. His conversion on the road to Damascus is one of the highlights in the Book of Acts and, certainly, a formative event in the genesis of the New Testament church.
The “Persecutor” Saul became the “Apostle” Paul by the power of God. It’s a simply amazing testimony with the classic “before and after” elements, the “I saw the light” moment (in this case, it was literal), and deep heart change.
This conversion, however, didn’t happen in a vacuum. The scripture tells us in verse 10, “Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias…”
Ananias. Who is this guy?
The only other reference to him beyond chapter 9 is in Acts 22:12 – “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.”
Ananias was prompted of the Lord to be the first person to go to the Man of Tarsus. Please don’t overlook the implications of this bold move. Imagine the Lord asking you alone to make a house-call to a terrorist. Then imagine prayerfully laying hands upon that terrorist. Continue imagining being the first person to endorse that terrorist as a “changed man.”
Ananias could have cried foul. He could have demanded his moment in the sun. After all, HE (not Saul) was devote and highly respected. He could have asserted that Saul had not been tested, nor could be trusted. Let’s be honest, would many of us feel it was our duty to “alert the public?” But instead, Ananias was obedient to the voice of the Lord and he was open to those that God had saved by his grace.
Obedient and Open.
Who will be the Ananias’ today? Who will defy conventional wisdom and listen to the direction of the Lord instead? Who will discover where God is working and join him there? Who will set aside fear (Saul) in order to gain clear perspective on the future (Paul)?