Summary: God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He orchestras divine appointments to accomplish His will. We are called to trust and obey Him. Be amazed at what God can do with our willingness to obey.
The obedience of one man changes everything. And he is almost an insignificant man.
• In the middle of a very dramatic, miraculous story of change, a quite unknown man appears.
• It’s easy to miss him, and even if you’ve heard the story of Paul on the road to Damascus many times before, it’s quite possible we’ve never really taken in this other fellow. I am talking about Ananias.
Who cares about Ananias? Yet God uses him, and in a significant way.
• He is the bridge that helps connect Saul into his new life in Christ, into God’s church.
• His action was really momentous – he prayed and Saul received his sight, and was filled with the Holy Spirit, and baptised, and he started to eat.
• God saved Saul, but God needs people like Ananias to help connect him to the church.
Who is this man Ananias? We don’t know much, except what Paul says in Acts 22.
• Paul mentioned him while sharing his testimony. Acts 22:12 “A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there.”
• The Lord has this simple job for him – go to a particular place and pray for this man.
• We really do not know how Ananias felt about it. We will never know. Ananias is never heard from again. He evidently went back home and went on about his business, having played his small but significant part in this great drama of Paul’s conversion.
Yet without his willing assistance, this would not be possible.
• There is a show many years back called “Extraordinary People”. It is not about the rich and famous, the high and mighty, but very ordinary people, but doing extraordinary things to others.
• They leave behind no statues or monuments, but they did things that inspire us. No one makes a wax figure of them and puts it in the museum, but we see the fruits of the labour today.
It’s true also in the history of faith. Again and again, God uses us ordinary, little people, to accomplish great things.
• I can imagine Ananias saying: “Lord, I don’t mind a simple evangelism; I love to see new people joining our church, but not this. He is not ordinary; he is a murderer. Has he really changed? Could this be a trap? Why take such a risk?”
• But Ananias went. On the basis of nothing, except what God just said. He trusted God. Or rather, he was WILLING to trust God.
Can we learn to trust God, simply on the basis of what He says?
• Are we WILLING to? Sometimes, it is not a lack of evidences but a lack of willingness. People just do not want to trust God.
• The Israelites have seen many miracles in their exodus from Egypt, but that did not change them. They ended up wandering in the wilderness because of their unbelief.
Ananias chose to obey God. There is some risk involved, but he has faith in what God said.
• It is one thing to hear God’s voice; it is another thing to obey Him.
• Notice this, all Ananias needs to do was to go to a particular place and pray.
• Frankly, it requires no skills or talents. God requires none of Ananias ability but his willingness to go. “Go!” the Lord says in verse 15.
• That willingness is all that is required! The hymn says it right, “Trust and Obey” for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
God set this appointment up.
• It is a “divine appointment”, not one that you can arrange. Only God can.
• Just like Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch we saw in Acts 8.
God does that today. That’s why we can expect “divine appointments” in life.
• The Lord sets them up. The neighbour that we bump into today, or the person that sits next to us, may not be coincidences.
• God leads us to see needs around us. They are interruptions to our normal routines, but they are divinely arranged.
• We are caused to see people’s needs, their loneliness, and their hurts because Jesus wants us to connect with them.
Ananias was listening to God’s voice, most likely because he was in prayer.
• How can you be listening if you are not tuning to Him? If we are busy doing 101 other things?
• And he recognized His voice, unlike Saul. When the Lord calls Saul, he asked, “Who are you, Lord?” (v.5) But when He calls Ananias, his reply was “Yes, Lord.” (v.10)
He must have spent much time with the Lord, to be able to recognise His voice. Paul says he is a devout man.