And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.(Acts 9:10-19)
When the Pharisee, prosecutor Saul met the risen Lord Jesus, on his way to persecute the followers of Jesus, Jesus asked Him, “Saul, Why do you persecute me?”.
He didn’t ask the zealous rabbi, “Why do you persecute my church(Assembly) ?”, but “…Why do you persecute me?“, thus establishing from the beginning in Saul’s mind, the unity of the Messiah and His body. To hurt any member of the church, would be to hurt Jesus himself, so closely is He identified with “the least of his brethren“.
The unity extends in both directions. When Saul asked Jesus “Who are you Lord?”, Jesus personally answered him, “I am Jesus…” . But when Saul asked the risen and glorified Jesus, “What do you want me to do?”, it pleased Jesus to delegate those instructions to one of the “least of these”, Ananias.
Saul was to wait for three days before word from Jesus was to come to him, regarding the answer to the second question he had asked of Jesus, “What do you want me to do?”. But the answer was not to come through an appearance of the resurrected and glorified Lord Jesus, but through a lowly member of his body, Ananias.
Ananias was not a pastor, teacher, Apostle, or prophet, he was a simple believer, filled with the Holy Ghost. Ananias received the instruction, and the knowledge that Saul had converted to Christ, in a vision from God. Ananias had furthermore been given the address where Saul had been staying.
The church in Damascus was fully aware that Saul had been deputized by the High Priest of Israel, to hunt them down, and to break up the church, arresting its leaders and members, and to compel them to renounce their new faith in the Messiah.This was common knowledge.
But the knowledge of Saul’s conversion, blindness, and change of heart wasn’t. The Lord revealed it to his disciple, Ananias and called him to venture forth, in the name of Jesus, to pray for the church’s bitterest one time enemy.
Ananias was to lay hands on Saul, that He might be healed, and receive the Holy Spirit. Ananias also was to prophecy over Saul, declaring through the Spirit his God appointed calling,
And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.(Acts 22:12-16)
If Saul’s persecuting Jesus was counted to be the same as persecuting his people, then it follows that for one of Jesus’ disciples to lay hands upon Saul, was the same as having Jesus himself lay hands upon him, and to hear Ananias prophesy in Jesus name, was to hear the Word of Jesus to Saul.
As Ananias laid hands upon Saul the scales of three days blindness fell to the ground, as a sign of the 30 plus years of utter spiritual blindness that had been removed also. Saul arose and was baptized in the name of Jesus and was filled with the Holy Spirit of God!
The final scene in Saul’s conversion story, is that of a miracle, equal to the Gadarene demoniac who sat “Clothed and in his right mind” at the feet of Jesus. It features the re born Saul, his vision restored, his sins forgiven, reconciled to the God he once fought so bitterly against, and eating with the lowly disciple, he once would have arrested, tortured and perhaps killed, had Jesus not intervened!