ANANIAS, AN ORDINARY MAN
By Patricia Jackson
Some of my favorite stories in the Bible are about dramatic events that occur when a relatively ordinary person follows God’s will. Ananias is one of those. Acts 9: 4 – 19. Saul had been given the authority from the high priest to stop or imprison those who were believers. He made havoc of the Church, entering into every house and haling men and women, even committing some to prison. He stood by as Stephen was stoned and consented to his death. We might compare Paul’s deeds to Hitler, who was determined to annihilate the Jews. But God had other plans. Saul had done all the damage to believers that God was going to allow him to do.
We recall how light from heaven shined round about him, and Jesus spoke to Saul. When Saul opened his eyes, he was blind and was led by his men into Damascus. For three days and nights, he did not eat or drink. What these days were like, we can only imagine. Perhaps Saul was filled with confusion or despair. It’s no accident he waited for three days and nights. The number three in the Bible represents divine wholeness, completeness, and perfection. The fulfillment of God’s work.
As Paul waits, we learn of a disciple named Ananias, a devout man, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there. (Acts 22:12). We don’t find that Ananias was wealthy or had a high position in society or educated. He was a simple ordinary man, but more importantly, he was a devout man. (Note) Ananias was a common Jew name, not to be confused with the scriptures about Ananias and Sapphira. The third Ananias mentioned in the Bible was a high priest in Jerusalem, appointed by Herod Agrippa II, and involved in Paul’s trial before the Sanhedrin council. Why did the Lord speak to this ordinary man, Ananias? 1 Corinthians 1: 26-28 tells us that God has a divine way of accomplishing his work. He uses the foolish things of the world to confound those who think they are wise. He uses the weak things to confound those who think they are mighty. God will only use those people whose lives are consistent and glorifying to him. You might be an ordinary person, but God can use you too.
V 9. “Ananias said, “Behold, I am here, Lord.” Ananias lived so close to God; he could hear him speak. God does and will speak to us also. He calls us by name and gives us specific work to do for Him. We have the choice of saying like Ananias, “I am here, Lord,” or we can ignore His call.
Ananias is given specific orders in the vision, “Arise and go to the street called Straight and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him so that he might receive his sight.” I like to think that suddenly Ananias became just like you and I would be. He forgot who was speaking to him and looked at the reality of the situation. Saul might kill him, or at the least, imprison him. Ananias began telling the Lord the evil Paul had done to the saints and how he hath authority from the chief priests. Jesus already knew who Saul was; how Saul had zealously persecuted Christians. The Lord reassured Ananias, telling him Saul was a chosen vessel unto him and that he would bear his name before the Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel. Saul, a great and mighty man of position, would be used by God as a missionary because an ordinary man obeyed God’s orders.
Ananias obeys, appearing before Saul, telling him the same Jesus that appeared unto him three days ago, hath sent him to receive thy sight.
We only know about Ananias in these brief verses. We do know he was an ordinary man, a devout and Godly man, extraordinarily used by God. Many became believers as a result of his act of obedience. In our church lobby hangs a plaque: “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.” Perhaps the writer of this plaque was thinking of Ananias.
Patricia Jackson is the Assistant Teacher for the Ladies Class at Redeemed Free Will Baptist Church, Glenwood, NC. She is a grant writer for non-profits, a published author and retired Nursing Home Administrator. She lives in Rutherford County with her husband. Contact information: email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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