Lent Devotional: Acts 9:1-18
by Jonathan Haefs
Acts 9:1-18 (click here)
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.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:10-17)
Why did Ananias go to Saul?
After all, he’d heard about all the evil this man had done and was intending to do toward the church. Ananias seemingly had every right to be angry with this man, to wish him ill, and to refuse to extend him grace. So why did he go?
Ananias went to Saul because he knew that when it comes to grace…he has no rights.
He had no right to claim grace for himself, and he had no right to refuse it to someone else. When it comes to grace…God has all the rights…the only rights! God chose Saul as his instrument, just like he chose Ananias. This is grace!
So Ananias goes, but not unwillingly. Though he may have had some initial hesitancies, Ananias’ fears are relieved by God’s good Word and he goes to Saul in celebration. How do I know?…because, before Saul is baptized, and before he even makes a confession of Christ with his lips…Ananias is calling him “brother.”
He is celebrating the fact that his faith family is growing, and he welcomes Saul with open arms. He celebrates the birth of his brother in Christ!
I don’t know Ananias’ past, but he obviously had a great understanding of what it meant to receive grace. We know this, because he had a great understanding of how to extend grace. We would all do well to ponder the grace we have received. This transforms our hearts into vessels that are quick to pour out grace toward others.
The more we ponder grace, the more we realize that we have no rights over grace…the more we realize that we have no right to claim grace for ourselves and we have no right to refuse it to anyone else.
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.