There was a man who was out for the kill. With the papers in hand he was hunting down anyone who belonged to the Way, man or woman, it made no difference to him because he had a job to do, a contract had been made and he was just the one to carry it out to the fullest and he enjoyed his work. As a matter of fact, it had not been too many days before that he had taken great pleasure in the murder of a man named Stephen and afterwards had gone wild in the city and started going from house to house dragging people out of their homes and putting them in jail.
Who was this wild man, you may ask, and whatever became of him? Well, he was a preacher and he was highly educated. As a matter of fact he was the best of the best. They called him Saul. You can read the whole story in the Book of Acts it’s very exciting. As far as what became of him? Well, he went blind on the outskirts of Damascus and was dazed by a blinding flash of light and the very ones he was killing and putting in jail came to his rescue…. and that is what I want to talk to you about today.
Blind on Straight Street
So here is Saul, blind, hearing a voice talking to him that those with him did not hear, sitting in a house in Damascus for three days! What would you be doing? Probably the same thing Saul was doing, praying. For those three days he didn’t eat or drink anything. He was focused on one thing. This man’s entire life and attention had been arrested by the One who spoke that day when the light flashed around him and he fell to the ground. I’m sure Saul had those words going over and over again in his mind, “I am Jesus, the One you’ve been hunting down. So get up and enter the city and you’ll be told what to do next…that was three days ago. And now all of his attention was on the Lord, waiting for the next part of His directions.
Suddenly there was knocking at the door. He heard Judas get up and go to answer, he could hear men talking, now footsteps. Is this the person he had dreamed about (really more of a vision), could this be the man named Ananias? Let me stop here and tell you a little about this man Saul. You must understand that Saul was the most doctrinally correct, legalistic preacher you could find, by his own testimony. This is what he wrote of himself in “Philippians 3:5-6: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
So why was he struck blind? I mean he was doing everything right! I’m sure if you were to ask him how he was living in the eyes of God he would have responded “Hey, I’m living right, Brother!” But God on the road to Damascus struck Saul blind, why? Well, I have an opinion about that. You see, I think we have a word picture here: I believe Saul was struck with the natural effects of his spiritual blindness. Up to that time all he could see was the law, the do’s and the don’ts, the rules and he could not see the love of God or the grace of God or the compassion, only the letter of the law and you know the letter kills… but the spirit gives life.
What’s In A Name
But God, who always provides a way out of darkness, had a man who had been waiting in the presence of the Lord. His name was, “Ananias” and as far as we know his one great quality when the Lord called for him was, he was there when he was needed. No other mention of him in the scripture is made. There is no indication that the Lord appeared to him again or sent him to do anything else. It’s possible, but there is no mention of it.
But he was in his place on that day and was waiting in the presence of the Lord, (That is a whole other message) Evidently this was something he spent a lot of time doing.
Saul, whose name became Paul, was as I said, the most doctrinally correct, legalistic preacher you could find, but God on the road to Damascus struck Paul with the natural effects of his spiritual blindness brought on by the letter of the Law. Then God sent Ananias. Here is the word picture: Ananias is the Greek form of the Hebrew name *CHANANYAH (khaw-nawn’) “Hananyah.” Ananias means ‘the grace of God’. “Hanan of Yah“, “Jah has favored” or graciousness of God, a gift.
Acts 9:17 (MSG) – So Ananias went and found the house, placed his hands on blind Saul, and said, “Brother Saul, the Master sent me, the same Jesus you saw on your way here. He sent me so you could see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” God sent the grace of God to open Saul’s eyes. So the very first thing Saul saw upon his eyes being opened was the grace of God in action and from that point Paul went on to write 2/3 of the New Testament proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ – that by grace are you saved through faith – and this is the message that is still going forth today.
Romans 5:15-17 (KJV)
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
*Strong’s Concordance #2605
Chanan: “gracious,” the name of several Israelites
Original Word: חָנָן
Part of Speech: Proper Name Masculine
Phonetic Spelling: (khaw-nawn’)
Short Definition: Hanan
Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone.
Bible, K. J. (1611). The Word . Harrison House.
Peterson, E. H. (2002). The Message (Bible). NavPress.
Strong, D. J. (201). Strong’s Concordance. Cincinnati: Jennings & Graham.
Wommack, A. (2015). Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary. Denver: Andrew Wommack Ministries.