Empowered to Act
Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!”
“Yes, Lord!” he replied. The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.”
“But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.”
But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.”
Acts of the Apostles 9:10-18 NLT
What an amazing story! First, Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, and that encounter blinded him. There was physical blindness and spiritual blindness. Saul couldn’t see where to go; the men with him had to lead him. But he was also spiritually blind—Saul didn’t know what to do with the encounter he had received.
God then spoke to Ananias and told him to go pray for Saul. Ananias was reluctant because he knew Saul’s reputation. But Ananias acted in faith on the word he received from God. That action took a lot of boldness and faith. Saul was arresting and beating followers of Jesus. But Ananias came in the name of Jesus.
This bold act from Ananias brought physical healing and spiritual infilling to Saul. This became the empowerment-of-the-Spirit moment for Saul. He had a salvation experience on the Damascus road, and now he had his Spirit baptism in the house as Ananias laid hands on him and prayed over him.
Saul was now ready to become Paul. As Paul, he planted churches, took the gospel to new territory, became the leading theologian of the New Testament Church, and wrote over one-third of the books in our New Testament.
I wonder what would have happened if Ananias had allowed fear to control his life? What if he had said no to God’s request to go pray for Saul?
God’s work is done through God’s people who are filled and submitted to the Spirit. We can’t do God’s work through human effort, talent, gifts, or personality. We must have the working of the Spirit in our lives.
Holy Spirit, I invite You to fill me fresh and new today. Empower me to be used by You today. Lead me in my conversations and actions to honor You in all I do.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying to you based on today’s reading.