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STUDIES IN ACTS      Studies in Acts

9. ANANIAS - an obedient disciple

"In Damascus there was a disciple name Ananias" (Acts 9:10).

As a disciple Ananias lived up to his name (which means "Jehovah is gracious'). His life demonstrated and shared the grace of God.

Consider the person
Ananias represents those that Saul of Tarsus sought to find and take prisoner as betrayers of the Jewish faith (Acts 9:1,2) The existence of Christians in Damascus, the capital of Syria, indicates how the Christian faith had spread. Doubtless, pilgrims at the Feast of Pentecost received Christ through the preaching of the apostles (Acts 2), and shared their new faith on returning home (cf. Acts 11:19). See Acts 9:1-19 for the story of Paul and Ananias.

Study the Scriptures
Ananias was "a devout man according to the law" with a good reputation (Acts 22:12). He was the kind of person the Lord could trust and use. In a vision he learnt of Saul's conversion. He was directed to go to Straight Street and minister to him. At first the disciple was alarmed, suspecting a trap. But, when the Lord assured him that Saul was a chosen minister for the Gentiles, he obeyed. Study the ministry of Ananias. He had a word of knowledge about Saul's future ministry – which he shared. Then, as he laid hands on Saul, the new follower's sight (which was lost when he saw the risen Lord) was restored and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. Ananias introduced the late persecutor to the local Christian community. Saul was probably baptised here. See: Acts 9:17-19; 22:12-16.

Ask questions

1. Saul "began to preach in the local synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God" (Acts 9:20). What scriptures would he use from the Old Testament to 'prove' that Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God? See Acts 9:22; 18:28.

2. Consider the obedience of Ananias. What can we learn from his faith in the Lord's word, and his courage to carry it out?

3. Consider the scripture, "To obey is better than sacrifice" (1 Sam.15:22).

4. How does Ananias compare with his namesake in Acts 5:1-11?

Apply some thoughts

1. Saulus Paulus (two of his three names are found in Acts 13:9) is introduced as the apostle to the Gentiles. His passion for the Lord, and his compassion for the lost, is immediately evident (see 2 Cor.5:11,14).

2. Pray for local Christians like Ananias.

3. Pray for believers like Paul, who have a special calling.

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Copyright 2008 Vernon Ralphs

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