God’s Prospect List: Acts 9:13-16
“13) But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; 14) and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” 15) But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16) for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”” Acts‬ ‭9‬:‭13‬-‭16‬ ‭
God had special plans for Saul. One big thing stood in the way, he needed to be converted. From the perspective of Ananias, Saul was the problem. From the perspective of Jesus, Saul was a prime prospect, he merely needed a new boss.
Look at his credentials. He was devoted, filled with zeal, tireless and willing to suffer personal adversity to carry out his mission. The guy had no end to tenacity, persuasiveness and vision. He had even persuaded the high priest to send him all the way to Damascus with authority to search for those belonging to the Way. He was a self starter. Jesus had a position to fill. He looked at Saul and said; “There’s my guy!”
Ananias had a radically different take on Saul. He Saw him as a persecutor, murder and threat. He was the last man for any position. No wonder he pushed back on the recruiting mission.
It wasn’t until Jesus showed Ananias the job description that Ananias suddenly saw potential in Saul. Let me paraphrase:
“I need a man of courage who is not afraid to suffer to carry out his mission. He will carry my gospel to the Gentiles, but many will reject him. He will speak of me before kings and political leaders, but they will put him in prison. He will proclaim my gospel before the Jewish people but they will misunderstand him and try to kill him. He must be willing to suffer much from everyone for my names sake!”
Suddenly, Ananias saw potential in Saul. No one in their right mind would ever sign up for that mission. It’s almost comical, but after hearing the job description, Ananias departed immediately to search for Saul.
Let me make an observation; Jesus loves and sees potential in people you and I currently despise, avoid and write off. No one is beyond the potential reach of the grace, mercy, the gospel or the power of God. He can change and use unlikely people.
Ananias had no clue that Saul of Tarsus was about to become the Apostle Paul. Jesus was going to work through him to change the course of human history and write 1/3 of the New Testament. He was about to become the greatest apologist and defender of the gospel the world would ever known. He was about to become to the New Covenant what Moses was to the Old Covenant. Both were unlikely prospects.
Nothing is impossible with God! No one is beyond the reach of the gospel if God is calling them! There is no limit to what God can do through one man or woman who is fully and wholly devoted to Him! Do you have a Saul on your prayer and gospel prospect list? Do you have a young Joseph, David, Daniel, Esther or Timothy? Are you willing to be an Ananias?
Of course, there is one more possibility; you might be on God’s prospect list. Are you running from God and His call on your life? Jesus wants to change your life and self identity. He may want to give you a new name and a new mission in life.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global