Summary: 1) Fervency in supplication (Acts 9:10-12), 2) Faithfulness in service (Acts 9:13-17a), 3) The Filling of the Spirit (Acts 9:17b), 4) Fellowship with the saints (Acts 9:18-19), and 5) Fervency in speaking (Acts 9:20)
Following instructions can often be perplexing. In cooking, assembling products or even a list that someone else left for you, the instructions at times seems strange.
In Acts 9, nothing which Christ could have given Ananias to do would have surprised him more than the duty with which he was entrusted. It filled him with astonishment and perplexity. God often calls us to tasks that at first seem perplexing. (The Pulpit Commentary: Acts of the Apostles Vol. I. 2004 (H. D. M. Spence-Jones, Ed.) (292). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)
The obedience to those tasks, in "The Light of His Presence" determines if we truly have faith in Him or not.
Last week (Acts 9:1-9) we saw how Paul was changed by coming face to face with "The Light of His Presence". Now, in Acts 9:10-20 we see that although Jesus brings Paul to conversion, Paul still has to face entrance into the church that he came to destroy. This is not one of Paul’s concerns, however, for Jesus opens the way for him to enter the church (through Ananias) and to be welcomed by the believers. (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 17: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles. New Testament Commentary (337). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.).
With "The Light of His Presence" in conversion (Acts 9:3-9), the Apostle Paul shows five other features of the transformed life: 1) Fervency in supplication (Acts 9:10-12), 2) Faithfulness in service (Acts 9:13-17a), 3) The Filling of the Spirit (Acts 9:17b), 4) Fellowship with the saints (Acts 9:18-19), and 5) Fervency in speaking (Acts 9:20)
1) Fervency in Supplication (Acts 9:10-12)
Acts 9:10-12 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." And 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, and 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." (ESV)
While Saul waited, blinded and fasting, thinking deeply about what had occurred, God was dealing with another man. The disciple at Damascus named Ananias was obviously not the same Ananias executed by God in chapter 5.
Continue in Acts 22:12
Acts 22:12 "And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, (ESV)
Ananias as likely one of the spiritual leaders of the Damascus church. If so, he also, ironically, would have been one of Saul’s main targets. Ananias means “Jehovah is gracious.” He was a gracious provision from God to guide Saul (Robertson, A. (1997). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Ac 9:10). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.)
Acts 9:11 notes that The Lord said to him in a vision to rise and go to the street called Straight. Straight Street was the main east-west thoroughfare of Damascus. The Romans made a kind of promenade out of it, with large porches at either end. It was called Straight Street because nearly all the other streets in the city were crooked (Balge, R. D. (1988). Acts. The People’s Bible (101). Milwaukee, Wis.: Northwestern Pub. House).
Ananias we instructed to look/inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. That was a severe test of Ananias’s faith, since Saul’s fearsome reputation was widely known (cf. vv. 13–14). Ananias would have had no way of knowing of Saul’s conversion, since the Lord did not reveal it to him.
• The Lord will call us to do things that look impossible from the information we have to strengthen our faith, but most importantly, to show that He was the one working through us who should be glorified in the action.
• When our actions are small and safe, we not only lose out on God blessing us but in essence, fail to give Him the glory He desired to work though us.
The footnote for behold, he is praying informs us of what Saul did during his three days without sight. Prayer is the spontaneous response of the believing heart to God. Those truly transformed by Jesus Christ find themselves lost in the wonder and joy of communion with Him. Prayer is as natural for the Christian as breathing. Paul became a man of unceasing prayer.
While he waited for Ananias, Acts 9:12 records that God gave Saul a vision that Ananias would come and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight. God, in His tender kindness to this persecutor, did not want him to be in any unnecessary sorrow, so He gave Saul hope for receiving his sight. A pair of visions were about to bring together two men who had been poles apart.