December 20, 2022

Street Called Straight

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.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.
ACTS 9:10-19 (ESV)

Author
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Jackson Wilson

Executive Students Ministry Pastor

The theme for December 13th’s reading is Jesus’ ability to heal the eyes of the blind. We see this first occur in John chapter 9 when Jesus heals the man born (physically) blind. Then we are taken to, perhaps, one of the most epic conversion stories in the history of testimonies; Acts chapter 9 and the conversion of Saul.

Saul in verse one of chapter nine and Saul in verse 20 are two COMPLETELY different people. Chapter nine opens with, “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord…” Not necessarily the type of person any of us would be super stoked to grab a cup of coffee with or invite over to our house for dinner with the kids. But if we continue on just 19 verses we read, “For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Song of God.’”

WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED TO SAUL? How did this man who was in one moment breathing threats and murder against Christians turn around and testify that JESUS IS GOD?! Well, what we find sandwiched between these two extreme versions of Saul is a KAIROS moment that takes place at the Street Called Straight.

Kairos: a time when conditions are right for the accomplishment of a crucial action: the opportune and decisive moment

Saul is on his way to persecute the very disciples that will soon become his brothers and sisters when he is confronted by Jesus Himself all of a sudden. At the very moment that the Lord is addressing Saul’s deep spiritual blindness and causing him to become physically blind, He is already working out His plan to restore his sight, wipe his track record completely clean, and usher him into the Kingdom of light through the obedience of a certain disciple named Ananias.

God, invites Ananias to be the linchpin in arguably the most important conversion story in all of history. We can’t know exactly why God chose Ananias, nor do we really need to know why, but we know that Ananias was a very ordinary person who also was practicing the way of Jesus.
David Guzik writes, “Ananias was an ordinary man – not an apostle, a prophet, a pastor, an evangelist, an elder, or a deacon. Yet God used him because he was an ordinary man. If an apostle or a prominent person had ministered to Saul, people might say Paul received his gospel from a man instead of Jesus. In the same way, God needs to use the certain disciple – there is a special work for them to do.”

The love of God for Saul and the power of God to completely turn a life around for the benefit of millions of others all come down to the obedience of an ordinary man named Ananias who was willing to do what God said despite his concerns about who Saul was.

I want to be this certain kind of disciple!

God is the one who saves. Salvation is not up to us; it is up to God and it is always a response to the work He is already doing, but God does desire to use His people to save the very people we don’t think want it. As we enter into the time of the year when we are bumping shoulders with family members who are lost, people in our workplaces who have lost a sense of wonder towards life, or even people in our life who are completely against the very God you serve, let’s be like Ananias.
Let’s be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Let’s have spiritual eyes to see the “Street Called Straight” moments when God asks us to be bold, to walk in love as Ananias did when he addresses Saul by calling him, “brother,” and be obedient.

I’d bet money on the fact that Ananias probably had no idea that Saul would become the Paul we know him as today. You never know what is on the other side of your partnering with God on behalf of others. We serve a good God and He can use anyone!

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