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The Scriptorium

Ananias and Judas

The ongoing work of Christ reconciles and restores. Acts 9.10-14

What’s in a Name? (2)

Pray Psalm 113.1-3.
Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
Praise the name of the LORD!
Blessed be the name of the LORD
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The LORD’s name is to be praised.

Sing Psalm 113.1-3.
(Armageddon: Who is on the Lord’s Side?)
Praise the Lord, O praise Him, all who know His Name!
From this day forever, magnify His fame!      
From the time each morning when the sun is raised
To its evening waning, let His Name be praised!
Refrain vv. 1, 2
Praise the Lord, O praise Him, all who know His Name!
From this day forever, magnify His fame!

Read Acts 9.1-14; meditate on verses 10-14.

Preparation
1. How did the Lord use Ananias?

2. How did He use Judas?

Meditation

Ananias was merely one of many believers in Damascus, and God could have lodged Saul in the home of anyone besides Judas. He could have chosen any of the believers in Damascus for this important work of readying Saul for ministry. But He chose Ananias. And Judas.

Wait a second: Haven’t we heard those names before?

Ananias responded with a ready heart when the Lord appeared to him in a vision – not what we would consider a usual way of the Lord’s making His will known, but in these early days of the ongoing work of Christ, not uncommon, at least with certain select disciples.

Ananias was ready to do whatever the Lord wanted. Like young Samuel, he may not have known exactly Who was speaking to him (1 Sam. 3), but he would be willing to hear the Lord and do whatever He commanded. Except – wow! Maybe he spoke too soon?

Not many Christians name their children “Judas” or even “Ananias.” Those names connote betrayal and self-interest for all who know them from the gospels and Acts 5. Jesus brushes all such nonsense aside by sending Saul to the shelter of a man named Judas (v. 11) – obviously a disciple – and by sending a disciple named Ananias to welcome Saul into the Kingdom. In Jesus, everything can be reconciled and restored.

This chapter reminds us that the ongoing work of the Lord is precisely that – the Lord’s. He is moving on, in, and through people to further His Kingdom economy on earth as it is in heaven. Sometimes that requires His people to take up unlikely or even risky tasks. What might that mean for you today?

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Ananias and Judas. Two names that we are perhaps revulsed by, that now we must accept, because God is giving them a new connotation. This Ananias will be a truth teller, not a liar. And this Judas, not a betrayer, but an embracer.

Both these men, regardless of their names, were given onerous tasks. One to host a brutal murderer, and the other to give a saving touch and word to the same.

And we are getting a taste for all the different things that God in His mercy calls His children to do.

They are both going before the church to show them that this once feared and hated man is now a brother. They are showing the church how to do it. And God is leading them every step of the way.

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”
(1 Jn. 3.1)

As God said to Isaiah,
“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul,
then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your noonday.
The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought,
and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (Is. 58.9-11)

What a beautiful word picture of the courageous and loving works of this Ananias and Judas.
We, too, can tell people that the burden and yoke of sin can be taken away.
We can stop pointing the finger of judgment at sinners and instead point them to Jesus.
We can extend the love of Christ to hungry and afflicted souls.
We can be a light in the darkness and water in the drought.
We can bloom and blossom in God’s love.
Knowing that love never fails. (1 Cor. 13.8)

Ananias. Judas. Us.
All called to be and touch new creations.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5.17).

For reflection

1. How can we have the courage of Ananias to do whatever the Lord commands?

2. How did the Lord Jesus show His love for Saul? How does He show that love to you?

3. What’s the most important lesson you learn from the example of Judas and Ananias?

the Lord setteth out his grace unto us, that as he stopped Paul before, so now he reacheth him his hand of his own accord, by his minister. And, in the mean season, we are also taught, by his example, to be more ready and careful to seek out the lost sheep. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Acts 9.10

Pray Psalm 113.4-9.
Thank God for the gracious way He lifted you out of sin and darkness and conveyed you into His Kingdom of light and life. Praise the Lord for all your believing friends, and pray for those poor in spirit who will hear the Good News of Jesus today.

Sing Psalm 113.4-9.
(Armageddon: Who is on the Lord’s Side?)
High above the nations, on Your glorious throne,
who is like You, Savior, ruling all You own?
Sovereign and all-knowing, over all above,
praise to You is owing for Your perfect love!
Refrain vv. 1, 2
Praise the Lord, O praise Him, all who know His Name!
From this day forever, magnify His fame!

Though You rule from heaven, looking down on earth,
praise and thanks be given to Your holy worth!
Down You reach to touch us, clad in ash and dust,
raising us with such as in Your favor trust.
Refrain

Seated now with princes ‘round Your glorious throne,
we by grace are lifted to become Your own.
Barren women, joyous, glad their children bear;
joining in the chorus, they Your praise declare.
Refrain

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all of the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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