Scripture: “Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he (replied), “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
But Ananias answered, “Lord I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your Name.”
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” Acts 9:10-16
Observation: Isn’t this sort of like Jonah? “Go to Nineveh.” “But Lord, I don’t want to go to Nineveh, isn’t Nineveh evil?” “Yeah, but I have a plan…”
Analysis: It’s a good thing that I was not Ananias.
I would like to think that I would have responded to the vision “Yes, Lord?” thinking, “Look at this. Just got done studying 1 Samuel and, being primed and ready for the whisper of the Spirit I sat up and “Yes, Lord?” I will have to have the guys lay hands on me to heal my shoulder, now out of socket, from patting myself on the back.
Lord Jesus: “I want you to lay hands on someone, Ananias.”
Ananias: (Oh boy!!) “Sure thing, Lord! Where and who?”
Lord Jesus: “There’s this blind guy on Straight Street expecting you.”
Ananias: “What’s his name? (like there are a bunch of blind guys on Straight Street)
Lord Jesus: “Saul of Tarsus.”
Ananias: (Cringing) “That wouldn’t be the same Saul of Tarsus that has been beating up the Brothers, would it?”
Lord Jesus: “The same. Circumstances have changed, I have a plan and purpose for him…”
I can tell Ananias struggled a bit: “Saul deserves to be blind, right? Killed, tortured, imprisoned a bunch of folks, folks I knew. Why show mercy to this murderer?”
Jesus: “He is my chosen instrument…Go to him, Ananias.”
If I go a little further in this section, I see that Jesus doesn’t exactly absolve Saul (soon to be Paul) from harm and heartache. However, the point is Ananias’ response: Swallow ungodly judgement and obey His Lord.
I am called to swallow judgment (condemnation) and show mercy. Evaluate? Yes. Discern? Yes. Make decisions based on gathered knowledge? Yes. Execute condemnation? No.
Prayer: Lord, it is difficult not to pass judgement on so-called sinners. I know why: It is because I have actively forgotten I am a sinner. Somehow, I succumb to the thinking that because I am a “Christian” I have moved the goalposts of “I don’t deserve Your saving Grace” to “I cannot give mercy and grace to (this class) of sinner.”
Ananias hitched up his britches and obeyed Jesus, no matter what he thought. I hope, given the same or similar circumstances, I remember this lesson and do the same. AMEN