Love Overcomes Fear

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Here I am, Lord!” he said.

“Get up and go to the street called Straight,” the Lord said to him, “to the house of Judas, and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, since he is praying there. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and placing his hands on him so he may regain his sight.”

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.”

But the Lord said to him, “Go! For this man is My chosen instrument to carry My name before Gentiles, kings, and the sons of Israel. I will certainly show him how much he must suffer for My name!”

So Ananias left and entered the house. Then he placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:10-17)

Jesus brings down all the walls that separate people from one another. Even those walls that seem necessary. God told Ananias to do something that seemed to him like a really bad idea.

Ananias was a disciple living in Damascus. He is not to be confused with the man married to Sephira who dropped dead because he had lied to the Holy Spirit about some property he’d sold. When Jesus told Ananias to cure Paul’s blindness, he couldn’t avoid expressing his fear about Paul.

Paul was well-known as a persecutor. But Jesus explained how things had changed in Paul’s life. Ananias was the first Christian to learn of Paul’s conversion and he learned what Paul’s ministry from that moment on was going to be, even before Paul learned it.

In a couple of sentences, Jesus summarized the remainder of the book of Acts and the future course of Paul’s life. Paul started by being set apart by the Holy Spirit to take the gospel to the Gentiles. Then Paul was arrested and suffered and spent time proclaiming the Gospel to kings such as Agrippa.

From the beginning, God knew what Paul was becoming and who he would be. God had a plan for Paul. Paul was not unique. God has a wonderful plan for all of us.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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