Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A Surprising Messenger

 “Jesus … has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
- Acts 9:17

On the Road to Damascus, Saul of Tarsus was given a huge wake-up call from Jesus Christ. For months Saul had been running around Jerusalem, barging into synagogues and homes, arresting, beating, and petitioning for the execution of Christian men and women. But on the Road to Damascus, Saul came face-to-face with Jesus Christ. Jesus knocked Saul off his high horse as He appeared to him in a blinding light and asked him a point-blank question in Acts 9:4: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?”

And as Saul lay on the ground, overcome by fear, guilt and regret, he asked Jesus the best question he could have asked: “What shall I do, Lord? What shall I do?” Jesus told Saul he had been chosen to open the eyes of Jews and Gentiles alike so that their sins could be forgiven through faith in Christ. But before Saul could do that, Jesus instructed him merely to “get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:6).

To deliver Saul’s next instructions, God chose an unlikely messenger: a man named Ananias. Ananias is first mentioned in Acts 9:10—and he disappears just 10 verses later. I find it very interesting AND inspiring that God used this obscure Christian to play a pivotal role in Saul’s conversion to Christianity. Paul went on to become the most influential Christian leader in church history. Yet God didn’t choose Peter or any of the other apostles to lead him to Christ. God chose a simple, little-known Christian named Ananias. I love it!

Three days after Jesus Christ appeared to Saul on the Damascus Road, Jesus appeared to Ananias in a vision. Jesus told him: “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight” (vs. 10-12). Ananias was floored. He probably thought, “Saul of Tarsus? Every Christian in Damascus knows about that guy. If he's blind right now, it’s probably best just to keep him that way so he can’t find us.” Ananias can’t keep quiet about his concerns. So, he said in vs. 13-14: “Lord, I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.” 

The Lord patiently listened to Ananias, but then simply responded: “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel” (v. 15). Jesus Christ, in essence, is saying, “Ananias, you don’t have to UNDERSTAND My perfect plan, but you do need to OBEY it.”

So, Ananias obeyed the word of the Lord. He went to Judas’ house on Straight Street, and he was surprised by the man he saw praying in front of him. Saul didn’t look at all like the bloodthirsty wolf of a man everyone talked about. He looked like a humble, desperate man praying to God for mercy and grace that he knew he didn’t deserve. Saul hadn’t eaten or tasted a drop of water in three days. He was a broken man. And Ananias began to see what God saw. He walked over to Saul, placed his hands on him and 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” (v.17). Instantly, Saul’s sight was restored.

Then Ananias told Saul the amazing news: “The God of our fathers has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. You will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on His name” (Acts 22:14-16). Saul wasted no time doing exactly that. No quick snack or cup of water to tide him over till dinner. He got up, confessed Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord and was baptized in water. And Ananias was most likely the man who had the privilege of baptizing Saul.

The vast majority of us are called to be Ananiases, not Sauls. Without fame or fortune, God calls us in our obscurity to do precisely WHAT He asks us to do WHEN He asks us to do it. You and I need to accept and live out our calling. Chuck Swindoll says it this way: “A rare few in God’s family enjoy fame and renown, position and influence. The great majority, however, are the Ananiases of the world—the errand runners, if you will, doing precisely what God has asked them to do, in precisely the place He’s called them to go. They keep the Body functioning in good health. None will ever know, until eternity dawns, the enormity of their investment in the cause of Christ.”

Remember: Jesus Christ is full of surprises. So don’t get too comfortable where you are—physically, emotionally, spiritually or geographically. God has a way of shaking up your plans to stretch you and move you into deeper levels of trust and obedience. He is ready to use you today … as long as you listen to His word and obey His leading. Be the best Ananias you can possibly be.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook Live. For more information, visit

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