Who’s your worst enemy?
Maybe there isn’t a person in your life who you’d consider a true enemy—but you’ve certainly had to deal with difficult people. People who went out of their way to snub and embarass you, or to sabotage your work, or who just seemed to enjoy making your life a little more difficult.
Ananias was a Christian in the early church. He—and all of his fellow believers—had one particularly fierce enemy: Saul, whose zeal for arresting and persecuting Christians was legendary. But one day, Ananias received a message from God that he surely never expected: “Go find Saul. He’s joining our team.”
There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias!”
“Here I am, Lord!” he said.
“Get up and go to the street called Straight,” the Lord said to him, “to the house of Judas, and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, since he is praying there. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and placing his hands on him so he can regain his sight.”
“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard from many people about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.”
But the Lord said to him, “Go! For this man is My chosen instrument to take My name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites. I will show him how much he must suffer for My name!”
So Ananias left and entered the house. Then he placed his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you can regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
At once something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. And after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul was with the disciples in Damascus for some days. Immediately he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues: “He is the Son of God.”
But all who heard him were astounded and said, “Isn’t this the man who, in Jerusalem, was destroying those who called on this name and then came here for the purpose of taking them as prisoners to the chief priests?” — Acts 9:10-21 (HCSB)
Questions to Consider
- How do you think Ananias felt upon receiving this command from God?
- What emotions and thoughts do you think Saul experienced during this encounter? Who do you most relate to in this story—Ananias or Saul?
- Take a moment to read two other Bible stories about wicked people who were shown unexpected grace by God: the city of Ninevah and the famous prodigal son. Pay special attention to the way that the “good guys” in each story—Jonah and the prodigal son’s brother—responded to God’s grace. How does Ananias’ reaction differ from theirs?
- Think about an “enemy” in your life. How would you react if you saw God’s grace extended to them in a surprising way? What if God asked you to be the one to extend that grace? Would you be overjoyed? Worried? Resentful?