Ananias: A Fearless Follower of Christ

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Christians occasionally find themselves in danger for simply following Christ. This danger can be psychological, legal, and even physical, or a combination of any and all of the above. The Scriptures are replete with examples of faithful Christians who braved their dangerous days. For the moment, however, we will focus on one—Ananias.

In Acts 9:10–19, the Lord Jesus commissioned Ananias to heal Saul (Paul) and give him instructions about his newfound role as an apostle to the Gentiles. Luke records this key event to show in part how the gospel would spread beyond Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and go to the ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8). Paul warmly remembered the role of Ananias roughly twenty years later in Acts 22:12–16.

While Luke’s greater concern in Acts 9 and 22 is to record the spread of the gospel through Paul, a few descriptions from these two passages tell us who Ananias was and what he did (Acts 9 and 22), giving us an example to imitate today. Like him, each of us must be a fearless follower of Christ. 

His Character

Steady, Christian growth prepares us for trials ahead. Several features of the character of Ananias helped him to obey his Lord without fear. 

Devout According to the Law (Acts 22:12)

Paul called Ananias “a devout man according to the law,” a term used only by Luke to describe Simeon (Luke 2:25), pilgrims visiting Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:5), and the men who buried Stephen (Acts 8:2). Based on his knowledge of the Old Testament, Ananias feared God and was reverent towards Him.

Well Spoken of by the Damascus Jews (Acts 22:12)

Paul also described Ananias as “well spoken of,” translated from martureō, usually translated “to witness.” In this context, however, this witness carries the notion of approval, meaning his fellow Jews gave him “a good report” (KJV). Like Timothy, Ananias enjoyed the good reputation of being a godly man among the people around him (cf. Acts 16:2). 

A Disciple (Acts 9:10)

The phrases above, if left by themselves, might describe a pious person who did not yet personally know the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 10:22). However, we know from Acts 9:10 that Ananias was “a disciple” who saw and conversed with the Lord Jesus in a vision (cf. Acts 9:17). Ananias was a Jewish Christian who saw Jesus as his Messiah. 

Ready to Serve the Lord

Upon being called by name by the Lord, Ananias responded, “Here I am, Lord” (Acts 9:10). Like holy men of old who responded such as this—Abraham, Moses, Samuel, and Isaiah (Gen 22:1; Exod 3:4; 1 Sam 3:4; Isa 6:8)—Ananias was ready to hear from the Lord and humbly obey His will.

His Conflict (Acts 9:12–14)

In a vision, Christ commanded Ananias to do a difficult thing—heal the blindness of Saul (Acts 9:11–12). Ananias spoke freely with the Lord, objecting that Saul was a well-known persecutor of Christians who had authority to imprison the saints in his city (Acts 9:13–14). How could Ananias heal someone who had hurt so many?

His Commitment (Acts 9:15–19)

The Lord did not rebuke Ananias but informed him that Saul would carry His name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, suffering much along the way (Acts 9:15–16). In response, Ananias trusted and obeyed. He healed Saul, told him of his filling of the Spirit, and baptized him as well (Acts 9:17–19; 22:13, 16). The Lord fulfilled His promise to Saul through Ananias, “You will be told what you are to do” (Acts 9:6). Ananias told Saul that he was appointed to know God’s will, to see Jesus and hear His voice, and to be a witness to everyone of what he had seen and heard (Acts 22:14–15). The Lord told Ananias what he needed to know, he believed, and he acted according to Jesus’s word. He was committed to serving Christ, as difficult as this task may have seemed.

Our Response: Fearless Followers of Jesus Christ

This brief survey of these accounts of Ananias brings us to a number of questions. Are you a devout person according to the Word of God? Are you well spoken of by your fellow Christians? Are you known as a disciple of Jesus Christ? Are you ready to serve the Lord, whatever the task may be? Is your commitment to Christ wholehearted, obeying Him even when earthly doubts arise? A godly character will help us keep our commitment to Christ whenever a conflict may arise.

Paul tells us to “keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Phil 3:17), an example that looked like Christ (cf. 1 Cor 4:15–16). If given the chance, Paul would likely point to Ananias as one of those examples. May God help us each to be like Ananias—a fearless follower of Jesus Christ.

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David Huffstutler

Pastor First Baptist Church, Rockford, IL

David pastors First Baptist Church in Rockford, IL, and teaches as adjunct faculty at Bob Jones University. David holds a PhD in Applied Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. His concentration in Christian Leadership focuses his contributions to pastoral and practical theology.