Summary: Our service to the kingdom of God is made more perfect by our interactions with other believers who are sent to minister to our lives. That's what happens for Paul on straight street.
A Rendezvous on Straight Street
The Story is told of a man who realized his need for a Savior and drove 500 miles to a meeting where Billy Graham was preaching. He had great respect for Graham, and no disrespect or ill feelings toward any of the ministers in his own home town. His feelings were sincere, his ambitions where honest; and the outcome was eternal. He met Graham, got saved and for all we know has served the Lord from that day forth.
Now God could have done that for Saul. He could have saved him back in Jerusalem at the hands of Peter. He could have had him meet up with James, the Brother of the Lord Jesus Himself. He could have done a number of things, but he chooses to use Straight Street-which means leveled truth, the opposite of crooked, and Ananias, a man that appears on holy writ for one scene and is never heard from again; to affect the salvation of Saul.
To some Ananias may seem insignificant, but Paul mentions him later near the close of his public ministry in Acts 22, and that’s only an honorable mention. The name Ananias appears in two other places in Acts. First in Acts 5; where a man named Ananias, along with his wife, Sapphira, try to lie to the Holy Spirit about their offerings. Then Later around Acts 23, where the high priest named Ananias had those surrounding Paul to hit him.
The name Ananias means, “Graciously given by the Lord” But when we look at the men that bear that names in Acts only one seems to bear the character of one given graciously by the Lord; He is the one found in Acts 9. He alone acts like, lives like, and ministers like he has been graciously given by the Lord.
When we first meet him he’s mentioned as a “certain…” disciple. Not a particular disciple but a certain disciples; in other words not one of any special notice. You wouldn’t look at this guy as someone special; you wouldn’t see this guy with a great mass of people following. Matter of fact his ministry is only a few bible verses long.
No books are written about him. No sacred text bears his name as author. But if his life hadn’t have collided with Paul’s we wouldn’t have 2/3’s of the New Testament. We wouldn’t have an Apostle to the Gentile Church. We wouldn’t have the Roman road to Salvation. We would know little about the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus. Thank God for Paul because He gives us all of this, but thank God for Ananias, and thank God for his rendezvous with Paul on Straight Street.
As with Moses and Joshua, Paul needed an Ananias; as with Elijah and Elisha, Paul needed someone like Ananias. Now I am sure that someone is thinking, well Paul had Barnabas, Silas and Timothy; yes he did, but that was after he met Ananias.
Before Paul could become the great church planter his conversion had to be made complete; He met Jesus on the Road to Damascus, but he met Ananias on Straight Street. The road to Damascus represents the pathway of salvation for Paul; but Straight Street represents that place where Paul get’s his marching orders. On the road to Damascus Paul find peace for his soul, on Straight Street he finds a reason to serve.
I want to suggest that just like Straight Street becomes significant for Paul’s life and Ananias becomes the tool God uses to exact Paul’s ministry and help him get his sight back, you and I need an experience on our own Street called Straight. Something unusual happens on Straight Street that becomes the spring board to Paul’s ministry and just maybe someone in here needs a rendezvous on a street called straight to be the motivation for their personal involvement in ministry.
There are three movements we see in this text that details the events of this life changing rendezvous:
I. The Ministry of Ananias: Vs 10-16
a. Appointed by the Lord
i. Non-specific “certain”
ii. Singular “disciple”
iii. Ananias “To him said the Lord”
1. Never do anything without God’s approval/appointment.
2. Without God’s approval/appointment nothing/significant can be done.
b. Guided by a vision. “In a vision…” something gazed at.
i. A vision is a picture of a preferred future.
ii. Jonathon Swift says that vision is the art of seeing things invisible.
iii. Can’t have a vision unless the Lord gives it to you by name. “Ananias”
iv. Can’t bring a vision to pass unless you answer in availability. “Behold I am here.”
v. Vision requires activity. “Arise and go”
vi. Vision assigned a destination. “A Street called Straight…”Leveled truth.
vii. Vision will take some searching. “Enquire…House…Judas…”