Ananias is rightfully cautious about his vision (v. 10). The Lord is specific about the direction He gives (v. 11). He has wonderfully prepared the way for Ananias (v. 12).
Ananias knows all about Saul. He does not want to go anywhere near him (vv. 13–14). The Lord is insistent (vv. 15–16). Saul’s commissioning as the apostle to the Gentiles is repeated by Paul in each of the accounts of his conversion in Acts 22:21 and 26:17. It is clear that his focus on Gentiles is not exclusive as he begins preaching the divinity of Jesus in the Damascus synagogues (v. 20). Whereas Peter required a special vision to be convinced that God has included the Gentiles among His people, there was no such hesitation for Paul. He was a stubborn resister of Christ but, once that resistance was broken, he realised that the gospel was for all.
Along with his partners, he takes the gospel throughout Asia Minor and into Europe, to the synagogues first and then to the fields, the market places, and the lecture halls. He does not hesitate to make clear that Yahweh is no local deity whose promises are for Jews only. Jesus is universal Lord, judgment day is coming, and all people should repent in preparation (Acts 17:30–31). What an effect it all has on the hearers!.
All conversions are significant, but Paul’s is particularly so as it will change the course of history for a major part of the world.
I have just returned from a trip through Europe, where the gospel arrived in the first century after Paul and Barnabas brought it to Philippi (Acts 16). The influence of the Christian faith on the continent’s architecture, art galleries, and opera houses was evident. In his commentary on Acts, British preacher Campbell Morgan writes, “Essentially the measure of Europe’s freedom is the measure in which she has obeyed the principles of Christianity.”5
Jesus is for all; wherever the unstoppable gospel goes, it brings about deep transformation in those who accept it.
5Campbell Morgan, The Acts of the Apostles (New York: F.H. Revell Co., 1924).
Think about the model of discipleship provided to us by Ananias.
How does the gospel challenge you in reaching out to your culture?