Ananias is rightfully cautious about his vision (v. 10). The Lord is specific about the direction He gives (v. 11). He has wonderfully prepared the way for Ananias (v. 12).
Ananias knows all about Saul. He does not want to go anywhere near him (vv. 13–14). The Lord is insistent (v. 15). Saul’s commissioning as the apostle to the Gentiles is repeated by Saul in each of the accounts of his conversion (22:21; 26:17). It is clear that his Gentile focus is not exclusive as he begins preaching the divinity of Jesus in the Damascus synagogues (v. 21). Whereas Peter had to have a special vision to be convinced of God’s purpose to include the Gentiles in His people (10:9 to 11:18), there was no such hesitation for Paul. He was a stubborn resister of Christ but, once that resistance was broken, he realized that the gospel was for all.
Along with his partners, he takes the gospel throughout Asia and into Europe, to the synagogues first and then to the fields, the marketplaces and the lecture halls. He does not hesitate to make clear that Yahweh is no local deity whose promises are for Jews only. Jesus is universal Lord, Judgement Day is coming and all people should repent in preparation (Acts 17:30–31). What an effect it all has on the hearers!
Campbell Morgan, in his commentary on Acts, puts it this way:
Look at Europe today in spite of all its desolation. Think of her architecture, then blot out the temples erected to the worship of Christ and what remains? Go into her picture galleries and destroy the paintings inspired by the Christian faith and what will be left? Go into her halls of music, examine her literature, then destroy all that has been made possible and inspired by the Christian movement, and what will abide?…Essentially the measure of Europe’s freedom is the measure in which she has obeyed the principles of Christianity. The measure of her purity is the measure in which she has obeyed the word to the gaoler, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.’ (Acts 16:31)*
Think about the model of discipleship provided to us by Ananias. How much of what is good about our culture is the fruit of the Christian gospel? Adam and Eve wanted paradise but they did not want God. Does our society do the same—wanting the fruit of the faith without the faith?
*Campbell Morgan, The Acts of the Apostles (NY: F.H. Revell Co., 1924).