I wonder how often, if ever, that we think of the prospect of coming into fellowship with one who hurt us badly. Most often, I suspect, we would simply seek to avoid such a person. People who seem to live to or at least enjoy hurting those who trust in Jesus are too often simply written off as unreachable, and perhaps unforgivable. Certainly, it would be very difficult to forgive such a one under normal circumstances who had beaten or killed a friend or a loved one, especially a harmless, gentle friend or loved one. Yet, as the Scripture keeps telling us, the thoughts of God are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9); yes, the depth and height of his wisdom is beyond our full comprehension (Romans 11:33).
The wolf had been killing and mauling the innocent for some time (Acts 9:1-2, cp. 8:1, 3), but the Lord called out a lamb to approach him and enter into fellowship with him (Isaiah 11:6; cp. 65:25), heal him and receive him into his own home (Acts 9:17-19). Perhaps one of Paul’s most memorable moments came when he saw once more those he had beaten or through his command lost loved ones. Yet, instead of judging him, they gave him the “kiss of love” (1Peter 5:14) and shared with him the bread and the wine, the token of their union with one another and with Jesus, their Lord. Such things as this are so uncommon as to be just about indescribable. Who can understand the love of God and his work in those who have submitted to him?
When Ananias first heard the voice of the Lord, he thought he was ready to do as the Lord desired (Acts 9:10), but when he found out what the Lord really had in mind, he questioned that what he was hearing was really true (Acts 9:11-12). I can hardly understand a disciple actually questioning Jesus’ direction at this point, but I know when I “think” I hear a word from the Lord, especially when it appears to be absurd, I do question it and need some verification. It is not that I distrust the Lord, but I wonder if I am hearing correctly or is it really just my own thoughts. I suspect something like this occurred with Ananias, though he did actually **see** and hear the Lord. The same word for Ananias’ vision occurs in Acts 7:31 for Stephen’s description of Moses’ vision of the burning bush.
In any event, Ananias submitted to Jesus and went to Judas’ house (probably a synagogue opening its rooms to Jewish travelers) and inquired for Saul of Tarsus, a known enemy of the Way. I find it interesting that both Saul and Ananias were told to do something that neither one fully comprehended its end and most likely had some hesitancy in doing. Ananias knew Saul had been an enemy of the Way and could, if he misunderstood the Lord, be placing himself in danger. Saul, on the other hand, was told to go to Judas’ house and await a contact from the very people he had been persecuting. How would a wolf expect to be received by a heard of sheep? What right did he have to expect to be received well by any of these brethren whom he had sought to destroy?
Yet, how inscrutable are the judgments of our Savior and his ways past finding out (Romans 11:33), that we should be saved by his grace (Ephesians 2:5, 8), and not only so, but that this decision was made before we were born, even before God began to create (2Timothy 1:9; cp. Ephesians 1:4). And, what makes all this even more astonishing is that we were created in this image of God (Genesis 1:27) to be made plain in due time (1John 3:1-2).