Learning to See

For "My name."

Acts 9:10–18

Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, “Ananias.

And he said, “Here I am, Lord.”

So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.

Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.

And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

Two people gain eyesight in this passage. Ananias starts out arguing with the Lord over his assignment. (That’s Chutzpah, no?) He’s the Lord’s servant, but his perspective is all wrong.

Before he can cure Saul’s blindness, Ananias needs to learn to see with Christian eyes.

And notice how the Lord teaches him to see with Christian eyes. “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

He doesn’t say Saul will bear the gospel; He says Saul will bear, “My name.” He uses “My name” again in the next sentence with, “he must suffer for My name’s sake.

We think of names as labels, but they’re much more in the biblical languages. We say prayers “in Jesus name.” We baptize “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Names represent authority.

And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. — Mark 13:13a

The Lord will change Saul’s name to Paul. That’s more than some rebranding from the marketing department; it’s a change of identity.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

And this Paul will suffer

for My name’s sake.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.