Thursday, 28 July 2022
Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. Acts 9:13
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
Previously, it was seen that the Lord explained to Ananias that he was seen in a vision by Paul putting his hand on him so that he might receive his sight. The conversation now continues with, “Then Ananias answered.”
One might think Ananias would, without hesitation, agree to what he had been told. He is in a vision with the Lord. And more, he is being told by Him that he was to go do something that had already been revealed to someone else as an accomplished fact. It is straightforward and simple. It is clear and unambiguous. And it is the Lord Himself who is conveying the message to him.
But instead of simply saying, “Yes, Lord, I can do that!” He pulls a “Moses at the burning bush” and starts giving reasons why the direction of the Lord isn’t the right thing to do. This begins with, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man.”
The words, “I have heard,” indicate that Ananias had lived for an extended period in Damascus. He may have been visiting Jerusalem during the pilgrim feast right at the beginning of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 and became a believer at that time. In his return to his home after the feast, he had slowly become aware of the persecution those in Jerusalem were facing.
Further, the words also hint at the notion that he seems to think Jesus is unaware of what he knows. When taken with all that he is going to say, this first clause essentially says, “I’m sure you want me to do this, but I know other information about this guy that you are obviously unaware of. So, before I say, ‘No,’ I want you to know why.”
It really appears as if he thinks the Lord is somehow unaware of what is going on and so He needs to be brought up to speed on the matter. As such, Ananias continues, saying, “how much harm he has done to Your saints.”
The Lord is asking him to put his hands on Paul and heal him while Paul has been manhandling those he is aligned with. Jesus somehow missed this, and Ananias is giving him the necessary briefing to open the Lord’s own eyes so that he doesn’t have to open Paul’s eyes. The thought, though incredible to us now, appears to be just what is in the mind of Ananias.
It is of note that this is the first time since the establishment of the church in Acts 2 that the term hagios, “holy” or “saints,” has been used concerning the people of the Lord. There are a couple of points that can be deduced from this. The first is that Ananias says (and the Bible affirms) that they are “Your saints,” meaning saints of the Lord Jesus. Those who follow Him are regarded as being His people. As they are saints set apart to God as holy, then it – by default – means that Jesus is God.
Secondly, so far, the word hagios, has been used when speaking of the Holy Spirit, when speaking of Jesus (such as in Acts 3:14), when referring to “the Holy One and the Just,” when referring to the Old Testament prophets (see Acts 3:21), and of the holy place in Jerusalem (see Acts 6:13).
It is a term used by Paul of those he persecuted in Acts 26:10, and it is a word he uses time and again in his epistles when referring to people in the exact same context as Ananias now, meaning people set apart by the Lord in this new dispensation, the church age. It is another clear and unambiguous clue that the church began in Acts 2 and not, as many ridiculously claim, as having begun with Paul’s ministry.
Rather, the “saints” of the New Testament are saints because of the finished work of Jesus, not because of the preaching of Paul. For now, Ananias’ words end with “in Jerusalem.”
The persecution of the saints was centered on, but not limited to, Jerusalem. But by saying “in Jerusalem,” it appears to be a continued questioning of the Lord’s awareness of what was going on. It is as if he is saying, “Lord, this is going on right in your Holy City. Aren’t you aware of how detrimental and cunning this guy is? He is doing this right behind your back… right in Jerusalem!”
As odd, and even comical, as this might seem to us now, Ananias is much like Moses at the burning bush. He stated things that we can almost shake our heads in amazement at, wondering what he was thinking. But this shows us our inability to perceive the greatness of God.
Life application: How often do we question God about events happening around us? “Lord, don’t you see what is going on in the world today? Don’t you care?” “O God, why did my son get into this horrible accident? Weren’t you paying attention? For the rest of his life, he will be a cripple.”
Our questioning of God’s ability, caring, knowledge, love, etc. goes on and on. It is as if we can trust Him for the proper functioning of the planet, the solar system, the galaxy, and – indeed – an entire universe, but we cannot trust Him with the affairs of our own lives. He has it all under control until something negatively affects us.
However, this is not true. The disconnect is not with God, but with us. When things get out of whack, it is from our perspective. We are not God, but by calling into question His ability to properly conduct His affairs, it places us – not Him – at the center of focus. We are just a small part of a plan that has been going on since the day God created man on this earth. It is not all about us. Rather, it is all about Him and what He is doing through Jesus Christ to bring us back to Himself. Let us trust this. Let God be God, and may we accept that what is happening around us is not out of His knowledge or control!
Heavenly Father, surely You are in complete control. Even in a world that may seem to be spinning into complete chaos around us, You remain unaffected by it and completely aware of it. While we see turmoil, You see things working toward a good and proper end. Help us to have faith and to trust You through these trials. Amen.