Friday, July 29, 2011

Ananias, a hero in the Bible

There are three different men named Ananias named in the New Testament.

One Ananias - along with his wife, Sapphira, sold some land and donated the money to the church. They said they were giving all the proceeds to the church but that was a lie. The couple were struck dead for their deceit. (Acts: 5)

Another was the High Priest Ananias, who was part of a group that brought charges against the Apostle Paul. (Acts: 24)

Both of these men did not bring acclaim to the name, Ananias.

Luckily for all you bearing that name today (I know, not very many), there was one Ananias who was good before God in the Book of Acts. His story can be found in Chapter 9.

Before Paul became an apostle of Jesus, he was Saul, a pharisees whose job it was to persecute Christians. On his way to Damascus, Saul had a vision of Jesus and was blinded. That encounter led Saul to become Paul and gave him the commission to spread the Gospel of Jesus to the gentiles.

However, before he could get moving with his mission, Paul needed some help. That's where Ananias comes into the picture:

Acts 9:10-19: In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
   “Yes, Lord,” he answered.
 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. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”
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. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
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.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. (NIV) 

At first, Ananias seemed scared but then he did what God commanded. I wonder if he was nervous as he approached the house where Saul was staying. Even when we know God is with us, we still have our worries.

I used to wonder why God needed Ananias to heal Saul, who then became Paul. After a couple years of learning about God and how He works, I realized He didn't need Ananias, He chose to use him.

God doesn't need any of us for anything. The Creator of the universe can do anything he wants. so why does He use us?

God created us for His glory. God the Father will present His children to Jesus as gifts and those gifts are to be the best they can. So Jesus died for our sins so we can be cleansed and the Father uses trials to mold us into the best possible people we can become.

So when God told Ananias to go find Saul and heal him, the Lord was developing Ananias into a better man of God. That story also shows us that as followers of Christ we will be asked to do difficult things but God will be with us.

1 comment:

  1. Its interesting. We all are brought in to help and be helped at various times. We are meant to be there for each other, bearing with one another and comforting each other and edifying each other.

    Judas is another name that could be reclaimed. It is really, "Judah." Same name as the tribe, and one of Jesus' brothers, and the writer of Jude, who was elsewhere in the KJV called Judas, the second disciple so named.