Acts 9:1-31

by Scott Kerr

This passage in Acts 9 has to be one of the more popular. Everyone likes to talk about Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus. No doubt this was one of the more important events in the New Testament as the persecutor Saul becomes the evangelist Paul after having his life-changing encounter with Jesus. Hopefully you have had your own Damascus Road experience even if your change was not as dramatic as Paul’s. However, what often gets overlooked in this passage is the role played by Ananias. If you know Paul’s story, you most likely recognize the name Ananias but most likely haven’t given much thought to him. But Ananias gives us a great lesson on faith even if he is not famous.

Ananias shows how when you have faith in God, you sometimes have to confront your own fears. When Ananias was told by the Lord in a vision to go meet Saul, he says to the Lord, “But I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints.” It wasn’t as if God didn’t already know this but Ananias was expressing his fear. He had a choice, confront his fears and obey God or let his fears control him. Thankfully, Ananias didn’t let his fear stop him from obeying God. Ananias also shows us that sometimes faith has to deliver a difficult message. God told Ananias that he was to tell Saul that he was God’s chosen instrument. That is a great message. But he was then to tell him all that he would have to suffer in fulfilling this calling. Not such a fun message. Any person of faith at times has to deliver difficult messages whether that is a message that is pointing out sin or a message that reminds another believer that following the Lord is sometimes painful or filled with sacrifice. We like to share words that are exciting while we are reluctant to share the difficult ones. However, both are important and Ananias was faithful to share both with Saul.

In the end, here is what we see about Ananias as he lived by faith in God: he got to witness the great miracle of the scales falling off Saul’s eyes and help Saul begin his journey as Paul. And this is really what I want you to see today. Ananias, as a person of faith, had an impact on Paul’s life to help him be the evangelist he became. We don’t talk much about Ananias, but Ananias impacted Paul’s life and really played a part in every life that Paul touched moving forward. Maybe you will not be a famous evangelist. Maybe people will not recognize you even as a great religious leader on any level. But maybe you are the person of faith who impacts lives who then go on to impact many others. Maybe you are the one who doesn’t get the recognition but you play just as important a role as the one whose name gets recognized. God no doubt considers both equally important and equally faithful. Whichever role God has for you, be a person of faith. As you face your fears and are obedient to God, as you share God’s message whether fun or difficult, you are impacting lives that will impact lives, that will impact lives. As a person of faith your influence can be greater than you ever imagined and greater than the popularity of your name.

Luke 18:1-43

by Scott Kerr

In times like these, more people turn to prayer than normal. Should we have confidence when we pray? In the first few verses of Luke 18, we read about a persistent widow and an unjust judge. In these verses, we read that the widow was being denied justice by the judge because he didn’t “fear God or care about people.” However, the widow continued coming back and back and back until finally the judge got tired of her bugging him, and so he gave her the justice that she was looking to receive. In verse 1, we are told that Jesus told the parable so that his disciples would continue to pray and not give up. Consequently, some have read the parable to mean they should keep bugging God until they get what they want. Is that what we are to learn? The answer to that is no. We are even told in James 4:3 that sometimes we do not receive because we ask wrongly. So, just being persistent to get our way is not the point. So what is the point? Jesus explains in verses 6-8. “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:6-8 ESV). The point is we should keep praying because we can trust that God will give justice to His people. When we pray, we can keep praying because at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way God will answer the prayers of His people. If an unjust judge will finally give justice, we can trust that God will act more quickly to provide justice to His people. So, what Jesus really wants us to do is keep praying with confidence, knowing God will take care of His people.