There are things that don’t make any sense without Jesus. In Acts chapter nine there is an amazing moment like this. In fact, there are several amazing moments in chapter nine of Acts. The one I’m referring to involves a Christian that has likely fled from Jerusalem to Damascus, a distance of 140 miles.
That is a pretty good distance today. One hundred forty miles is the distance from Rocklin to San Jose California. Most people walked that distance, which would take 8 to 14 days to cover. Even on a donkey it would be a long trip. This man Ananias packed up all he could and headed to Damascus so that he could escape the persecution going on a Jerusalem.
It seems that right after the resurrections of Jesus, Christianity began to spread and as it spread it became a threat to Jewish leadership. Remember that it grew like wildfire with thousands baptized on several different days and among them were priests and Pharisees.
One man among the persecutors of the church was a young Pharisee named Saul, the son of a Jewish mother and a Roman father. This mixed lineage may have made him more zealous, but he hunted down the believers in Jerusalem in an attempt to stop this new sect in its tracks. Luke, a friend of Saul’s writes in Acts chapter 8, “As for Saul, he made havoc of the church…”
Saul takes the show on the road. He travels to Damascus in pursuit of people like Ananias. Just before he arrives Saul is driven to the ground by a bright light and hears the voice of Jesus compelling him to stop persecuting and go into Damascus to await instructions. And by the way he is struck blind by the experience. Walked into the city by his companions Saul finds lodging and for three days eats and drinks nothing, waiting for those instructions.
This is where Ananias comes into the picture. – Hang in its worth the wait – After three days pass this early adopter among the Christians hears from God himself. Jesus tells him to go find Saul and heal him of his blindness. Ananias like most of us, tries to inform God about this man and what he has been doing. The answer he gets is brimming over with grace, “Go, for he is my chosen vessel…”
Moments later just across town on a street called Straight, this follower of Jesus knocks on a door aware that his persecutor is on the other side. This is where I wonder what I might do.
When invited into the house of this terrorist who have been responsible for the deaths of many believers, Ananias heeds Jesus. Laying his hands-on Saul, he says, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus has sent me so that you may receive your sight.”
Jesus was entering into Saul’s life, and he had already entered into Ananias life, this fact made them brothers!
The persecuted and the persecutor, brothers, because they shared Jesus. What a concept! What a world! To be bonded by our mutual faith, to people we don’t know and may even be fearful of, that can only happen when Jesus gets involved.
We will talk more about this on livestream in less than 24 hours. In the meantime, let Jesus Get “IN”-volved!