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The Scriptorium

What's in a Name? (2)

Judas and Ananias - bad names, right? Wrong.

Acts (8)

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27

Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 9 (Lesson 8) by clicking here.

Read and meditate on Acts 9.10-14.
By the time Saul of Tarsus was becoming a name to be feared, the Name of Jesus had already set up shop and put down roots in Damascus – a portent of things to come. Saul was as foolish in his day as others have been throughout history and even today who think they can stamp out the faith of Jesus. ‘Tis to laugh (Ps. 2.1-4).

For reflection
1.  Ananias was merely one of many believers in that city, among whom Saul would begin his ministry in just a few days. God could have chosen any of those believers for this important work. But He chose Ananias. Wait a second: Haven’t we heard this name before? What do you suppose the status of that name might have been among the Christians who were being dispersed to places like, well, Damascus?

2.  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. What constitutes a “ready heart”, and how does one “ready” his heart for the Lord’s calling?

3.  Ananias was ready to do whatever the Lord wanted. Like young Samuel, he probably didn’t know 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? As you think about the Lord calling you to some work in His Kingdom, what might you be secretly hoping He would not appoint for you? Why?

4.  “Lord, I have heard from many about this man.” Who hadn’t? “Maybe You didn’t know, Lord, but…” We shouldn’t fault our brother here; he’s only seeking clarification, not a way out, since this mission seems most unlikely. What would be an unlikely mission for your church to undertake in its community? How do you know the Lord is not calling you to this?

5.  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 mystical nonsense aside by sending Saul to the shelter of a man named Judas – obviously a disciple – and by sending a disciple named Ananias to welcome Saul into the Kingdom. Christians are not ridiculously superstitious. Is there a message in these names about the Lord’s work of redemption?

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. Would you describe your church as risking anything for the progress of the Kingdom in your community? Explain.

Closing Prayer
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.
The LORD is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the LORD our God,
Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
That He may seat him with princes—
With the princes of His people.
He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the LORD!

Psalm 113

T. M. Moore

Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.

Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book,
The Kingdom Turn (click here).

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.

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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