And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold…
While the conversion was independently of human agency, the new life awakened was immediately called up by Divine appointment into fellowship with the life of the Church. The baptism is here plainly a Divine seal upon the individual, an invitation to the privileges of the Church, a consecration to higher life and service.
I. THE CHOSEN VESSEL MARKED OUT BY THE LORD. By the supernatural signs -
1. The vision; the communication of Ananias and its results; the opened eyes of the new convert.
2. The introduction of Saul among the circle of believers at Damascus. They would receive him as not only a converted man, but one of whom the Lord predicted such things.
II. THE TWO BRETHREN UNITED IN PRAISE.
1. The joy of Ananias over Saul; the joy of Saul in the salutation of brotherly love.
2. An answer to prayer. Darkness turned to light.
3. A release from the captivity of an anxious solitude. Such a mind needed quickly to be delivered from the danger of too great a reaction. The sympathy of an experienced Christian with a young convert is unspeakably precious. The introduction to Ananias was an introduction to the Church at Damascus, which, while no doubt wholly Jewish, was yet prepared by its training in that city for the reception of such a man. They would be less startled then at the announcement that he would go to the Gentiles. Thus God works all things according to the good pleasure of his will. The converted Saul opens his eyes in Damascus.
III. SPECIAL CONSECRATION of the newly won soul to higher service by the gifts of the Holy Ghost.
1. The baptism was an acceptance on Saul's part of the Lord's commission. He knew that he would have much to do for Christ. He remembered the past and desired to make up for it by entire devotedness to him whom he had persecuted.
2. Extraordinary conversion is a preparation for extraordinary service. The days of darkness are days of wrestling prayer. The foundations of the new life were laid deep. Augustine; Luther; Bunyan; Chalmers. Grace abounding to one who has felt himself the chief of sinners becomes abounding strength to do the Lord's work. Preachers who have no deep experience to fall back upon cannot speak to the hearts of others. 3. The special gifts of the Holy Ghost bestowed through the ministration of Ananias. A miraculous power at once descended on Saul, and he felt himself lifted out of the ordinary current of his life and set in a higher level of experience and faculty. - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.