Acts 9:10-19: Special assignment.

“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 baptised, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.” NIV

‘The supernatural is too closely intertwined with the story to be taken out of it without reducing it to tatters. The greatest of Christian teachers, who has probably exercised more influence than any man who ever lived, was made a Christian by a miracle. That fact is not to be got rid of.’ Alexander Maclaren. When someone is converted, the ‘fruit’ will start to show itself. Here we see a first bloom in Saul’s life: ‘’…for he is praying’’ (11). You can understand the reticence felt by Ananias. He knew Saul’s reputation. He knew his track record. He knew exactly why he had come to Damascus. But although he was initially hesitant, Ananias proved to be as ‘available’ to God as was Philip in the previous chapter. He was sent on a special assignment, and it was, at least in part, to give Saul details of his special assignment (15, 16). Here is an example of God working at both ends of the line, to bring the right people together at the right time. Ananias was ‘’a disciple’’, and showed it by his obedience. God is able to correct anyone’s thinking when this is required. True fellowship is found at the feet of Jesus, who is Lord. Repeatedly in today’s reading you get to see that Ananias knew Jesus as ‘’Lord’’. However, we have also seen that Saul had started to call Jesus ‘’Lord’’ (5). When two people, however different, can genuinely call Jesus ‘’Lord’’ that is the basis for true brotherhood – for genuine fellowship (17). ‘How sweet and strange to speaker and hearer would that ‘Brother Saul’ sound! Alexander Maclaren.