10A follower named Ananias lived in Damascus, and the Lord spoke to him in a vision. Ananias answered, “Lord, here I am.”
11The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the house of Judas on Straight Street. When you get there, you will find a man named Saul from the city of Tarsus. Saul is praying, 12and he has seen a vision. He saw a man named Ananias coming to him and putting his hands on him, so he could see again.”
13Ananias replied, “Lord, a lot of people have told me about the terrible things this man has done to your followers in Jerusalem. 14Now the chief priests have given him the power to come here and arrest anyone who worships in your name.”
15The Lord said to Ananias, “Go! I have chosen him to tell foreigners, kings, and the people of Israel about me. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for worshiping in my name.”
17Ananias left and went into the house where Saul was staying. Ananias placed his hands on him and said, “Saul, the Lord Jesus has sent me. He is the same one who appeared to you along the road. He wants you to be able to see and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18 Suddenly something like fish scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see. He got up and was baptized. 19Then he ate and felt much better.
Saul Preaches in Damascus
For several days Saul stayed with the Lord's followers in Damascus.
There is a saying, “Seeing is believing.”
In this passage, there are two men who receive visions, Ananias and Saul, a follower and a persecutor. Their experience might make us want to say instead, “Hearing is believing.”
On the one hand, we don’t know what Ananias saw in his initial vision. But we know what he heard. And we know that because Ananias did what he was told, he was effective in working God’s will. Ananias ended up seeing with his own eyes what he had at first only heard.
On the other hand, we do know what Saul saw in his initial vision, because the Lord reveals it in Ananias’s vision. Saul “saw a man named Ananias coming to him and putting his hands on him, so that he could see again” (v 12).
For both men, what they saw was a confirmation of what they had first heard.
The God of the bible is a God who speaks, and his words are powerful and effective. They bring courage to the fearful Ananias; they bring sight to the blind Saul. God’s words convey the power of his presence to both.
The blind Saul had a vision. But more importantly he also heard Jesus. Later in life, he comments that “No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ” (Rom. 10:17).
In the end, Saul becomes like Ananias, a disciple. He began hungry and blind. Now he sees and is fulfilled. But unlike Ananias, who feared suffering, he will speak for the Lord to many others, and the Lord will show him “how much he must suffer for worshipping in my name” (v 16). Paul obeyed God’s call, and saw what Ananias heard.
The Lord Jesus promises, “My followers, whoever listens to you is listening to me” (Luke 10:16).
Will you obey and see his power?
Whose power brings the deaf to hear and the blind to see,
Open our ears that we might hear your words to us,
And when we hear, give us the courage to obey,
So that we might see the glories of your salvation in the people we meet,
To the praise of your name.