Ananias are rare
Ananias is a common Jewish name, the as same as Jacob. There are a number of Ananias listed in the N.T.
The first one is associated with a warning to the N.T. believers. This Ananias was one of the members of the Church at Jerusalem, who conspired with his wife Sapphira to deceive the pillars of the N.T. Church by which he committed sin against the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-11).
Another Ananias was a high priest before whom Paul was brought as we see in Acts 23:2.
The third and final Ananias is the one who is being discussed.
1. A DISCIPLE (Acts 9:10)
Ananias was a Christian or disciple of the risen Lord Jesus at Damascus (Acts 9:10). He probably could be the one among those Seventy Disciples (traditionally listed). He was selected by the Lord to go to Saul to restore his sight and baptize him. The introduction about him is a ‘disciple’. It is note worthy to the members of the Church of God today.
There is none who would not wish to be called as the disciple of the Lord Jesus. What would be the introduction that the people can give when they speak about us? Remember, our character, work and life styles give us such an introduction. Ananias’ introduction about the Apostle Paul was said in verse 13 of chapter 9 – A man who persecuted the Church. It confirms the fact that we were discussing hitherto. Our character, dealings, lifestyles, etc must declare that we are the sons of God and servants of God. Ananias was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. A MAN OF VISIONS (V10)
It is a fact that there were many Christians who lived and followed Christ at that time. But, God gave visions to Ananias. It is that the Lord gives us vision. It is not the biblical qualifications or degrees, or bible seminars, camps, challenge conferences, etc, that give us the vision. It is true also that any of these can be a means. Vision that people have from organizations, bible colleges, camps, man, etc, will fail as the course of their life. Other believers will be able to understand if that person’s vision was true or not. Be sure about the vision in you. Is it from the Lord or from the man? As a bible college student, I did not go after the name of an evangelist or such. The main reason was the lack of divine vision. I also need to admit here a truth by quoting from a great servant of God: The more we know him; we will be burdened more to proclaim about Him. May God bless us. The lack of true visions in the light of Scripture today is due to the lack of knowing more about him. May God help us to know more about Him.
3. A MAN OF EXCUSES AND FEAR (Vs. 13, 14)
It is a human nature to respond to things which are seen. Ananias knew about the persecution of Saul. Before weighing and comparing both the persecution of Saul and the revelation of the Lord, he went on to tell the Lord about the authority that was given to Saul. Again God comforts Ananias and asks him to go based on His commandment.
Probably, by now, Ananias realized the powerful words of the Lord Jesus. He trusted and obeyed as unto the one who has authority on all things. Though, we often have many excuses just as Ananias did, let us trust the promises of our soon coming Lord. Let’s be conscious about this time and our duties. Ananias allowed Christ Jesus to have first priority in his life. He did not let his circumstances and human limitations hinder him, but stepped forward, looking unto the promise of the master.
4. A MAN OF OBEDIENCE (V. 17)
There were many barriers that Ananias could see, but still he obeyed the Lord. He was not like the Jonah of the O.T., going to Tarsus instead of Nineveh. For Ananias, obedience to God was not an option; he was faithful to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us also follow this great servant of God. A man who is went after the vision that he received from the Lord. He was a man who followed the Lord’s desire and command.
God’s Word declares that obedience is better than sacrifice. Jesus continually reminds His disciples about the importance of obedience in all areas of their lives and ministry. Christ-like obedience expresses love for God. Obedience refers to a complete and whole lifestyle that comes from a personal covenant relationship with God, through Jesus, His Son.
5. A DEVOUT MAN (V. 12)
God does things with a purpose. Though, we may face innumerous unanswered questions in certain situations, be sure of one thing – that God does things with a purpose.
I asked myself, what was God’s purpose in selecting this Ananias? Why did the Lord choose this Ananias to convince and confirm the divine call that Paul received? The reason behind this is mentioned in one of the testimonies of Apostle Paul. As we read the testimony narrated in Acts 22:12, Paul says that Ananias was a devout man according to the law, having good testimony among the Jews.
Here lies the purpose of this article. There are many among us to preach, teach, evangelize, etc. but, a lack of true Ananiases makes the growth of the assemblies nil. Ananias’ duty was not to evangelize, but to go to a person who had already been evangelized, and to take a person who had already accepted Jesus as his/her personal Saviour and the Lord, build him up, take him to the Church, etc.
Recently, I heard that a brother who accepted the Lord Jesus Christ during one of our conventions, after a short while, was taken by people of another denomination. It is often said about the Brethren – they bring people to the knowledge of Salvation and other Churches take them away.
It is an alert to each one of us especially to the leaders of the local assemblies. We need to build up people like Ananias in our assemblies. There are many among us who are born again believers and unable to go ahead because of the doctrinal blindness. Who will consider them? Yes, the Local Church has to. Men who are like Ananias, in our local churches need to go after them and build them up.
Let us pray for the growth of men such Ananias in our assemblies, to fill the gap.