Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord!” he replied. The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now. I have shown him a vision of a man named Ananias coming in and laying hands on him so he can see again.” “But Lord,” exclaimed Ananias, “I’ve heard many people talk about the terrible things this man has done to the believers in Jerusalem! And he is authorized by the leading priests to arrest everyone who calls upon your name.” But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. And I will show him how much he must suffer for my name’s sake.” So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength. Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. (Acts of the Apostles 9:10-19 NLT)
When Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus he was converted. Verse 11 says that he was praying and verse 17 tells us that Ananias called him brother Saul. Both of these indicate that Saul was already a converted believer. Sometimes, in the ranks of Christianity, we get all tangled up in the formulas of our own beliefs and practices to the extent that we close out any other possible considerations. Now, I'm not talking about compromising the core doctrines of Biblical Christianity. I'm talking about arguing over how God does His work. We, often, get so set in our schools of thought on the work of the Holy Spirit, that we tell Him how and when to do His work. This is a controversial subject among denominations. I appreciate, and respect, those who strive to be sound in their teachings. I, too, desire the same. I never want to do anything that is outside the instruction of God's Word. I want to be absolutely convinced of truth and never compromise it. What I do want is to grow and learn in God's Word so the Holy Spirit can expand my understanding. I've not yet "arrived". May the Holy Spirit continually teach me His Word and Ways.
In this passage, it is clear that Saul was already converted by the time Ananias had come. Three days had passed (see Acts 9:9) when Ananias got to Saul. Ananias had his own concerns about encountering this man named Saul. He had heard about his aggressive pursuit of the believers in Jesus. God had to reassure Ananias that He had called Saul and had plans to use him in the ministry (see verses 10-16). It is interesting that Saul was at a home on the street called Straight. The street was apparently and literally named this. When we get right with God we get on the straight street. It is appropriate to mention the man who lived in the home at that location-Judas. Not much is known about this particular Judas but he is evidently a completely different one than the two listed in the twelve disciples (see Luke 6:16). One thing, however, he appears to be a believer in Jesus himself. This man was an instrument of God that played a role in the development of Christianity as we know it. Perhaps you feel like a nobody to the world? Remember, If you love Jesus, genuinely, He is using you for His purpose too (see Romans 8:28).
Last, but not least, we see what happened when Ananias arrived and found Saul. He laid his hands on him (see verse 17). As he laid his hands on him, he said that The Lord Jesus had sent him that he might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Verse 18 describes the event as scales falling from his eyes. He regained his sight and was filled with The Holy Spirit. He then arose and was immediately baptized. He then ate something for physical nourishment.
Two things: First, Ananias wasn't an apostle, yet he was used of God to do miraculous things. Second, Saul was already a believer when Ananias laid his hands on him yet he needed the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I believe The Holy Spirit is present with us at salvation. We can't get saved apart from His work. However, I also believe that we need a baptism of His presence in our lives. Then, and only then, can we clearly see. Immerse me Holy Spirit in your person!!! Take all of me! Purge me of the old man and make me new!
Rev. Curtis Norris