He stared in the face of a killer. One of the brightest, smartest men of his time and he was wreaking havoc. It takes courage when the person you have an appointment with has a reputation in the civilized world as “the executioner.” And get this…he had documentation from the leaders of their world saying his actions were “approved”.
One of the most courageous men in history had to be Annanias found in Acts 9 in the Bible. He had heard the stories about Paul and seen the results of his actions. Now, the word of the Lord came to him saying, “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.” (NIV) What do you do when God tells you to do something so audacious, it could cost your very life? If you are like Annanias, you speak up. (I would be raising my hand, “Excuse me…”) God doesn’t give him a sign, a reward, even a special accommodation for his effort – his first word is “Go.”
It says that Annanias didn’t bluster or ponder – he got up and went. Arriving at the scene he sees the killer – blinded, bruised and probably scared about what was to happen next. Annanias gently places his hands on the trembling shoulder of the executioner and said the following words: “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.” That’s it. No thunder, no lightning and amazingly, no drama. The bible says that “something like scales” fell from Saul’s eyes and he got up and got something to eat. Such an anti climatic moment. Just like that, it was over.
Or was it. This is one of my favorite Bible stories. I love this story because of a couple of things. Those thirty-three words are the only ones recorded in the Bible by Annanias. If he knew then that those words were going to be recorded and then eventually put into a scroll. Then, they were added to a book of writings and compiled into a Bible. Finally, countless people and generations would read that Bible for hundreds of years. If he knew that was his only words…wouldn’t he say something profound or eloquent that would be worth remembering.
Be grateful he said what he did. In doing so, Annanias changed the world. Those words released a new life and ministry in Saul, who later changed his name to Paul. Paul was one of the most famous missionaries in the history of the world. Paul brought the life-changing message of God’s love to the Gentile nation. And it was Paul, who wrote almost half of the New Testament. So much of the church and teachings of today are based on his instructions and writings.
Final thought…the other reason I love this story. Could one of your simple actions or expressed thoughts change someone’s path? You might just change the world…it could happen!