Summary: Ananias is here ordered to go and look after him, to heal and help him; for he that causeth grief will have compassion.
Ananias is here ordered to go and look after him, to heal and help him; for he that causeth grief will have compassion.
A native of Damascus; for it is said <Acts 22:12> that he had a good report of all the Jews who dwelt there, as a devout man according to the law; he had lately embraced the gospel, and given up his name to Christ, and, as it should seem, officiated as a minister, at least pro hac vice-- on this occasion, though it does not appear that he was apostolically ordained.
But why were not some of the apostles from Jerusalem sent for upon this great occasion, or Philip the evangelist, who had lately baptized the eunuch, and might have been fetched hither by the Spirit in a little time? Surely, because Christ would employ variety of hands in eminent services, that the honours might not be monopolized nor engrossed by a few,--
The direction given him is to go and enquire at such a house, probably an inn, for one Saul of Tarsus. Christ, in a vision, called to Ananias by name, v. 10. It is probable it was not the first time that he had heard the words of God, and seen the visions of the Almighty; for, without terror or confusion, he readily answers, "Behold I am here, Lord, ready to go wherever thou sendest me, and to do whatever thou biddest me." Go then, saith Christ, into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas (where strangers used to lodge) for one called Saul of Tarsus.
Three reasons are given him why he must go and enquire for this stranger, and offer him his service:--
1. Because he prays, and his coming to him must answer his prayer. Behold denotes the certainty of it: "Assure thyself it is so; go and see."
Christ was so pleased to find Paul praying that he must have others to take notice of it: Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep which I had lost.
But was it such a strange thing for Saul to pray? Was he not a Pharisee? and have we not reason to think he did, as the rest of them did, make long prayers in the synagogues and the corners of the streets?
Yes; but now he began to pray after another manner than he had done; then he said his prayers, now he prayed them.
Note, Regenerating grace evermore sets people on praying;
2. It is no time to linger, for behold he prayeth: if the child cry, the tender nurse will hasten to it with the breast. "Oh! go to him quickly, and tell him he is a dear son, a pleasant child, and since I spoke against him, for persecuting me, I do earnestly remember him still."
Observe what condition Saul was now in.
He was under conviction of sin, trembling and astonished; the setting of sin in order before us should drive us to prayer. He was under a bodily affliction, blind and sick. Christ had promised him that it should be further told him what he should do (v. 6), and he prays that one may be sent to him to instruct him.
3. Because he hath seen in a vision such a man coming to him, to restore him to his sight; and Ananias’s coming to him must answer his dream, for it was of God (v. 12): He hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias, and just such a man as thou art, coming in seasonably for his relief, and putting his hand on him that he might receive his sight.
Ananias objects against going to him, and the Lord answers the objection.
1. Ananias pleads that this Saul was a notorious persecutor of the disciples of Christ, v. 13, 14.
He had been so at Jerusalem: "Lord, I have heard by many of this man, what a malicious enemy he is to the gospel of Christ: all those that were scattered upon the late persecution, many of whom are come to Damascus, tell how much evil he hath done to thy saints in Jerusalem, that he was the ringleader in the mischief-- what havoc he has made in the church: there was no man they were more afraid of.
"His errand to Damascus at this time is to persecute us Christians: Here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name, to treat the worshippers of Christ as the worst of criminals."
Christ has taught us another lesson, to render good for evil, and pray for our persecutors
Will it be to any purpose to go to him? Can such a hard heart ever be softened, or such an Ethiopian ever change his skin?