so ananias departed and entered the house. and laying his hands on him he said, “brother saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” and immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened, [acts 9:17-19]
it’s crazy to me how much happens in these short verses:
- ananias obeys God’s command
- meets one of the foremost people in the world who is persecuting Jesus
- through the power of the Holy Spirit, ananias is able to forgive saul
- ananias lays hands on saul and calls him brother, symbolically welcoming him into the family
- saul is filled with the Holy Spirit
and that’s just verse 17!
for all of that to happen, it seems like we only get the 10,000 foot view of these events. almost as if they’re mentioned in passing. and i think that’s exactly what God intended.
i think it’s tempting to read this story as if it’s about saul, or even about ananias, but really this is a story about God’s sovereignty and how we had humans have the opportunity to participate with God in his work.
the salvation of saul reminds us that there is no one too far gone from salvation. it also teaches us that God may, and most likely will, call us into uncomfortable situations to play a part in his saving work in other’s lives. ananias was scared and hesitant, but ultimately obeyed God. and on the other side of his obedience, 2/3 of the new testament is written, many of the first churches were planted, and thousands of people hear the gospel.
Lord, continue to save in our midst. soften our hearts to forgive those around us who we might not think deserve salvation, and empower us to share the gospel and love them well. use us Lord, for your glory.
~ john sandman