“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord…”
Acts 9:10 KJV
The book of Acts is a book which starts of with the resurrected Christ and his last moments on earth with his disciples. It further goes on to narrate the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by the Lord Jesus Christ, the formation of the early church, the conversion of Saul and the spread of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Any reader of this book will immediately notice that, after a few chapters of the book, the narrative switches to Paul (also known as Saul) and his missionary journeys. This has led some people to refer to the Book of Acts as a diary of Paul the Apostle. Although the book largely focuses on the life and missions of Paul and the other Apostles of Jesus Christ, there are some other disciples worth taking note of.
Ananias is a very interesting character in the early church and it is necessary we take some time today to have a peek into his life and learn the relevant lessons for our lives and ministries. We can find his story in Acts 9:1-18 which narrates the conversion of Saul. Please make sure to read the scripture before you continue. Now, let’s look at some of the lessons we can learn from this disciple.
1. He was a devout man: Ananias was a disciple of Christ who lived in the city of Damascus. There was a lot persecution against the disciples in his day and many had already fled Jerusalem where the persecution was at its peak. In spite of the difficulty in their day, devout men and women like Ananias were still grounded in their faith in the Lord and on this occasion, the Lord was going to use him to change the course of history as they knew it.
2. He had fellowship with the Lord: It is easy to infer from Ananias’ discourse with the Lord that, he was not a newbie in spiritual things. He knew the Lord. Don’t forget that a few verses earlier when the Lord appeared to the sinful Saul on the road to Damascus, Saul asked “who are you, Lord?” The difference is clear; Ananias had a strong relationship with the Lord so it was not a problem at all when he saw Him in the vision.
3. He was full of faith though he had his concerns about the mission: Ananias was your ‘ordinary disciple’ but the Lord gave him this special assignment because of his faith. He is not referred to as a prophet or an apostle or an evangelist but as a “normal” disciple, the Lord trusted Him with such an important mission. When the Lord told him his mission was Saul, he pleaded the Lord that he had heard reports that he was a dangerous man. Nevertheless, after the Lord told Ananias that he had chosen Saul as a vessel for his work among the Gentiles, he proceeded on the mission. How many times have we disobeyed the Lord because he told us to do something we considered dangerous? Ananias had faith in the Lord and did not allow fear to cripple him.
How many times have we disobeyed the Lord because he told us to do something we considered dangerous?
4. He was an answer to Saul’s prayer: At the time that Ananias saw the vision, Saul was praying. Had the Lord not told Ananias, he would not have known that his mission was partly, an answer to Saul’s prayer. His obedience to the Lord’s instruction made it possible for God to answer Saul’s prayers. He had his eyesight restored and he obtained salvation. We need to understand that just like Ananias, the things God calls us to do could be an answer to someone’s prayer. The Lord may not tell us directly that it is, but in time, we will realize it.
5. He had the power of the Holy Spirit at work in Him: Ananias was a disciple who had signs following him. By laying his hands on Saul, something like scales fell off his eyes and he was able to see again. Ananias had told Saul that the Lord Jesus sent him to restore his sight and that he will be filled with the Holy Ghost. Ananias was confident that by laying his hands on Saul he would receive his sight as the Lord had told him. And the miracle happened. This is a call to all those who believe on the Name of the Lord to heal the sick.
What have we gathered so far?
Ananias is like any believer today. He loved the Lord and was not moved by what was happening around him. His fellowship with the Lord made it possible for the Lord to handpick him to bring his answer to praying Saul. He believed the Lord will stretch out his hand to heal through him and his faith prevailed.
Think about it; this is just a peek into the life of Ananias. In Acts 22:12, Ananias was referred to as a man of good report. His devotion to the Lord was seen by all men. And he was not even numbered among the Apostles or prophets. He was a disciple; what we will call in our day, “an ordinary Christian.” Imagine if we had his whole life and ministry written in the Bible for us. Like the Apostles, it would not be short of stories of faith, righteousness, love, commitment and the miraculous.
We need to understand that to be a disciple of Jesus Christ is not an idle life. It is not just about attending church services and inviting people to church. It is largely centered around imparting souls for the Lord and being a critical part of their salvation in their everyday life. This requires us being out there “in the field,” as it were, and not holding ourselves back in the comfort of our individual church organizations.
To be a disciple of Jesus is the do what He told us to do; to obey His command;
One very important command He gave us was the commission to make disciples of all nations to baptize them in His Name and to teach them to obey all that he has commanded. Like Ananias, are you willing to say; “Yes Sir?”
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias…
Prince A. Poku. ©April 2020