Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” (Acts 9:10)
Here I Am Lord
The apostle Paul is one of the great characters of scripture taking center stage for the volume of material preserved in the New Testament. He was an incredible missionary for the kingdom of God. His travels are traced through the book of Acts as he and his companions brave the elements, face opposition, suffer persecution and baptize multitudes of men and women, establishing churches throughout the Roman Empire. Paul’s conversion was a measure of the grace of God as he was a chosen vessel of the Lord. Before he became a Christian, another man played a significant role in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus.
There was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias. When Saul of Tarsus left Jerusalem with letters from the high priest to the synagogue of Damascus, he was looking for men like Ananias. He planned to take them and throw them into prison in Jerusalem. After Saul arrived in the city, the Lord came to Ananias in a vision. When God called out to Ananias in the vision, the disciple of the Lord said, “Here I am, Lord.” It may seem a trivial thing, but the answer of this devout disciple was the key to the fulfillment of God’s plan for Saul of Tarsus. Ananias knew the voice of God, and he was ready to obey at a moment’s notice. It is unknown if this had ever happened before for the disciple, but he would be asked to do a dangerous yet remarkable work.
The Lord tells Ananias that Saul has come to Damascus but is staying at the house of another disciple of Christ named Judas. This man lives on a street called Straight, and Saul is there praying. In a vision, the Lord tells Saul that Ananias is coming to speak with him and restore his sight after being blinded outside the city. Ananias responds to the Lord’s request with an appeal to the nature of Saul’s work and how much harm he has done to the saints in Jerusalem. The Lord reassures Ananias that Saul is no longer a threat and will be a chosen vessel for the kingdom of God. Ananias immediately goes to the house of Judas, and the rest is history.
What is important to see about Ananias is he is a disciple of Christ ready to hear the voice of God and respond to the call of duty. He was not the first that received this type of call. The Lord called Abraham to sacrifice his only begotten son, and Abraham answered, “Here I am.” The angel of the Lord spoke to Jacob in a dream, and the grandson of Abraham said, “Here I am.” From the midst of the burning bush, the Lord called out, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Young Samuel was in the house of Eli, the High Priest when God called out to him four times, and the answer of the young lad was, “Here I am.” Isaiah the prophet heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” It was Isaiah who said, “Here am I. Send me.” In all of these instances, God calls His servants, and they respond with a willing heart and a ready hand. Saul’s conversion was by the grace of God and obedience of an honest heart to the word of the Lord. The agency of his becoming a Christian was a man who, when he heard the voice of the Lord, stood ready to work. Ananias knew the voice of God and obeyed the call to face a challenging task, fully trusting in the Lord.
The Lord continues to speak to the hearts of men today through His word. What is needed more than ever are saints who are listening for the voice of the Shepherd and who are willing to say to Him, “Here am I.” Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, and he did. Moses became the leader of the nation of Israel establishing the law. The prophets answered the clarion call of the Divine, with many dying for that message. Twelve men answered the call of Jesus to follow Him. Men and women who listen for the word of God will respond with the willing heart to share the good news of Christ with people like Saul of Tarsus or Rahab the harlot or Simon the sorcerer and a group of women by a riverbank and a black man from Ethiopia. Here am I? Are you listening? Better yet – are you ready to work?