Letter for May

“Faith Pictures – An Easter Challenge”

I chose as my Bible Character “Ananias”, one  of the ‘hidden heroes’ of the New Testament.

We are all very much aware of Paul’s great missionary work. His scholarship, his perseverance and courage, without which  Christianity may well  have remained a sect within Judaism.

Paul’s zeal to spread the Gospel was matched by the vehemence with which, as Saul of Tarsus he persecuted the early Church.

In Acts. Chapter 9 we read:

“Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples went to the High Priest and applied for a letter to the synagogues in Damascus, authorising him to arrest any followers of the new way, whom he found, both men and women, and bring them to Jerusalem”

Following Saul’s dramatic conversion he was blinded for three days and chose to take no food or drink

Enter, Ananias....who had a vision in which he heard the Lord say” Ananias”, “Here I am Lord” he answered. “Go to straight street, there you will find a man named Saul, you are to lay hands on him to restore his sight.

Understandably Ananias is reluctant to go to Saul.

“Lord, I have often heard about this man, and all the harm he has done your people in Jerusalem”

How often do we have a conviction about a certain course of action, but would rather not pursue it. “Thanks , but no thanks”!.....but the Lord  replied “You must go”, so Ananias went, and on entering the house, laid his hands on him and said “Saul,  my brother” What an exceptionally moving moment this must have been for Paul, after all he has done to wipe out this new sect, he is paid the supreme compliment of being called “my brother” by Ananias, what a compliment, what a brave statement from Ananias not knowing what response he would get.

By the Holy Spirit, Ananias is telling Paul he is accepted, he is forgiven, he regains his sight, and is baptized.

Nothing more is heard about Ananias, but his obedience and courage enabled Saul of Tarsus to become Paul the apostle.

“Without delay, he proclaimed Jesus publicly in the synagogues, declaring Him to be The Son of God”

At times we can find ourselves in a situation when we have the opportunity to enable someone with greater or different gifts to ourselves to take the limelight, to be up-front, while we can quietly take a back-seat.  Remembering that all who serve the Church in whatsoever capacity, can be mightily used by God.

Paul Harper


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