And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. (Acts 9:17-19)
Ananias And Paul
Few men stirred the fear of persecution more than Saul of Tarsus in the early days of the church. Saul was wreaking havoc against the church and his influence was spreading throughout the world. The saints were scattered abroad in the face of the severe persecution from Saul and the Jews who threatened to imprison and murder those who followed Jesus. There was nothing the infant church could do but worship Jesus Christ with faith and courage; not knowing if they would be part of those caught in the web of hatred from Saul.
In the city of Damascus lived a disciple named Ananias. He was a devout man. God chose him to carry out one of the great works of the early church: baptize the persecutor of the church. At first, Ananias was reluctant to go to Saul, having heard what he had done and his plans to do much harm to the church in Damascus. Encouraged by the Lord that his mission was with divine approval, Ananias went to the house of Judas and found the great man Saul blind and hungry and praying. Ananias laid his hands on Saul restoring his eyesight.
Saul had been blinded on the way to the city of Damascus. The Lord appeared to Saul and told him to go into the city and be told what to do. Ironically, the man who sought to destroy the disciples of Christ was taken to the home of a Christian named Judas and cared for three days. In his darkness, Saul must have wondered what would become of him. Three days is a long time to wait in darkness. There is little doubt his caretakers were compassionate and kind to the man the Christians feared. After three days, a visitor came through the door. Kind hands embraced Saul, and immediately, he received his sight again. What a joyful moment as the fearful darkness was taken away.
The first thing Saul saw when his vision was restored was the face of Ananias. He heard how that God had chosen him to be a witness to all men. Then Ananias told Saul to arise and be baptized to wash away his sins. Immediately, Saul obeyed the voice of Ananias and the two went down into the water and Saul of Tarsus – persecutor and destroyer of the church – was baptized into Christ. Did they embrace when they came out of the water? Saul stayed a few days in the house of Judas, meeting the disciples he came to imprison. What became of those who traveled with Saul from Jerusalem? Did they return to the high priest in Jerusalem and tell what happened to Saul? The few days after the baptism of Saul had to be some of the most memorable days in the life of Saul.
Ananias disappears from the pages of early church history. Luke does not say what became of Ananias. Whether he and Paul ever saw one another again is not known. As Paul sits in Roman prison, his thoughts turn back to those days in the home of Judas and a man named Ananias. A bond is formed of the one who baptizes and there is little doubt Paul could forget his companion and fellow disciple, Ananias. There were others that Ananias would have baptized and those Paul helped find the gospel are legion. Two names are inseparable for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: Ananias and Paul. With God’s grace, the two found one another again in death. Thanks to all those who wear the name of Ananias in the kingdom of Christ.