A Disciple of Christ
Every day, you are shaping your reputation. And as a Christian, every day you are shaping Christ’s reputation too. What do our lives say about Christ as we walk around as His disciples?
Ananias may be a lesser-known Bible character, but he had a profound influence on Paul’s life and therefore on all of church history. This resulted from his daily devoted faithfulness as a disciple of Christ. Three traits of his discipleship can help to shape our own character and commitment to Christ as we seek to be used in God’s kingdom.
First, Ananias was, as the KJV puts it, “a certain disciple” (emphasis added): one who was specifically chosen. Even before bringing Paul (then known as Saul) to Damascus or calling upon Ananias, God sovereignly orchestrated the spread of the church after the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem to reach at least 200 miles north to Damascus, where a group of believers, including Ananias, were then established. Then, out of this group, God specifically chose Ananias to reach out to Paul after his conversion. This profound display of God’s sovereignty should inspire and encourage us to trust that God may be working in ways yet unseen to prepare and use us to accomplish His will.
Next, Ananias was a bold disciple. He identified himself as a follower of the Lord—part of the very group in Damascus that Paul was on his way to persecute before his conversion (Acts 9:1). Ananias’s loyalty wasn’t simply to a local church, a denomination, or a theological view but to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Similarly, if Jesus has taken hold of our lives and changed us then we cannot keep this life-altering fact to ourselves either. Just as we say no to sin when we receive Christ’s salvation, we must also say no to secrecy about our faith. Either our discipleship will destroy our secrecy, or our secrecy will destroy our discipleship.
Finally, Ananias was a committed disciple. Later, Paul would remember Ananias as a “devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived” in Damascus (Acts 22:12). A reputation like this is not gained in five minutes, or even five days, but slowly, in the steady ebb and flow of life. Ananias developed such a reputation by committing his whole life to following God and His word—a commitment that he surely displayed through his daily business and interactions with others.
Ananias’s life challenges us to be faithful in seemingly small ways on apparently ordinary days. Perhaps one day we will be called to do something extraordinary for the Lord—but we are not to wait until then before we live wholeheartedly for Him. This is what disciples do: boldly, devotedly, and humbly they pursue God and trust Him completely. Whether you are in the midst of studies, raising children, pursuing a career, or facing retirement and old age, seek to do it all faithfully to the glory of God. Make it your aim to be known simply as Ananias was: as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
The Conversion of Saul
1But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19and taking food, he was strengthened.
Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues
For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.
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