Friday 13 May 2011

Bible Book:

"So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.'" (v. 17)

Acts 9:1-20 Friday 13 May 2011


Here is one of the great turning points in the history of theChurch. Saul, a fervent persecutor of the Church encountered Jesuson the road to Damascus. This dramatic experience turned his lifeupside down. Symbolically he was blind for three days after whichhe saw faith in a completely new way. No doubt there were manyother factors which influenced this radical change. But this wasthe tipping point. Things would never be the same again.

It fell to Ananias to help Paul on the next step. In a scenereminiscent of that in 1Samuel 3, where Samuel heard the Lord calling, Ananias heardthe Lord calling him to meet Paul. His reluctance was natural givenSaul's fierce reputation, and in a very human way Ananiasremonstrated in verses 13-14. There was honesty there. Despitebeing given clear guidance, Ananias wrestled with the call. It musthave taken enormous courage for him to meet Saul. Later in Acts22:12 Paul pays tribute to Ananias and offers a briefcharacter reference. Other than this incident we know nothing moreabout him. But he played his part in the chain and movinglyaddressed Saul the persecutor as "brother".

In verse 18 there is a wonderful give away sentence: "He got up andwas baptized". Have you ever considered the freedom and generosityof that moment? The ex-persecutor was immediately andunconditionally baptized. He was not asked to go on any ten-weekChristian basics course. There was no approval of any pastoralcommittee. Just a free and generous act of water symbolising newlife. Luke (the Gospel writer and author of Acts) suggests thatSaul was baptized in the house - no free flowing water as for theEthiopian official (Acts 8:36). It would appear that there was morethan one way to do things in the early Church.

To Ponder

This passage is laden with the Jesus' guidanceand prompting. How do you discern his leading?

Ananias took a considerable risk in meeting Paul.When have you been the recipient of someone's generous,open-hearted risk taking?

Baptism is a powerful expression of starting anew life and belonging to Christ. How can your church invest moremeaning into the service of Baptism?

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