10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he 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.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.
As Ananias left the place he was in and walked towards Straight Street, he would no doubt have looked liked anybody else going about their business. But I’m sure that in spite of God’s encouragement, Ananias’ heart was beating fast, his mouth dry, and his palms sweaty as he arrived at Judas’ house and asked for a man from Tarsus named Saul. Quite probably every fibre of his being was telling him to run!
How amazing then that the first thing Ananias does is to place his hands on Saul, and the first two words he says to this man who has been murdering followers of Jesus are, ‘Brother Saul.’ Ananias calls Saul by name, and he calls him brother. Ananias chooses to draw near, in obedience to God, when every natural instinct would be to run away.
I love that in his obedience, Ananias represents God, reaching out and drawing near even as we are at our worst. God, help me to be courageously obedient, and I trust that as I do so you will be gloriously on display. Amen.
Written by Ps. Bethany Waugh