In Acts 9, Jesus appears to Paul when he was on his way to Damascus. Encounter with the living Christ turned Paul, a persecutor of Church to a follower of Jesus Christ. In the same passage, Jesus appears to another disciple, whose name was Ananias and asked him to go to Paul and pray over him. Ananias was unwilling to go first but when the Lord revealed that Paul was a chosen vessel for the Kingdom, Ananias went.
Something similar happens in Acts 10 when an angel of the Lord appears to Cornelius with good news that his prayers and work of charity have come before the Lord as a memorial offering. The angel further asked Cornelius to send men for Peter who also received a message in a vision. But, unaware of the meaning of the vision, Peter said no to the Lord. Later on when the meaning was revealed to him, he got ready to go to Cornelius’ house.
Both Ananias and Peter declined to obey at first. Ananias was hesitant for many reasons, first he was not expecting Jesus to ask him to pray for Paul – a persecutor of the Church. Then Ananias was aware of Paul’s intentions to come to Damascus to persecute and torture the believers. In response to Ananias concern, Jesus explained that Paul was a chosen vessel of God and then Ananias obeyed the Lord.
Peter knew that according to the law, it was forbidden for the Jew to associate with gentiles. Therefore, to uphold the law and in order to be counted righteous in the sight of the Lord, He declined at first to do something that his conscience (controlled by the law) didn’t approve. Later Peter also obeyed the Lord.
Ananias and Peter were walking with the Lord for a long time when they both received messages, but their initial response was NO.
The situation hasn’t changed a bit today. Those, who have been trying to follow the Lord and involved with ministry work, sometimes imitate Peter’s and Ananias’ initial responses when the Lord asks them to do something unconventional. We (experienced as we are) tend to form prejudices and biases and make our own standards to uphold our righteousness. We have favourites and begin segregating people (subconsciously) on the basis of their walk with the Lord. We know but tend to forget occasionally that every man is created for a special purpose and only God knows the right time and place to use that person. We may judge each other by their past, but God looks into the future and knows that there is hope for everyone.
Jesus knows this human weakness and he has provided us with a solution in John 12:6, “Where I am, my servant must also be there.”
Are we with the Lord right now? Is the so-called righteousness and knowledge of the Bible becoming hindrance to receive the fresh revelation from the Lord? Is there discrimination in subconscious mind based on people’s past, ethnicity or culture ? If yes, then the time has arrived for renewal…Let’s renew the habit of spending time with the Lord the way we first started. Lets refresh our first love with Christ and ask him to give more love for others. Lets just come on our knees and renew our covenant to follow Christ and work for his people.