What Happened Next
Now we witness the result of Ananias’ obedience in loving the unlovely:
So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” . . . And immediately [Saul] proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” (vv. 17, 20)
What in the world happened here? The gospel did what the gospel does. The gospel transforms lives, and it transformed Paul’s life forever.
I have seen this happen in prison on a regular basis. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Recently, a young man came into my prison office with a piece of paper and began to explain to me what was on it. He said, “I am thirty-two years old and I’ve never had a job in my life. All I’ve ever been is a drug dealer.” He then said, “On this paper is a list of all of the horrible sins I’ve committed in my life that I can think of. I don’t think even God could forgive what’s on this paper.” We talked for a long time. I shared Scripture with him about Jesus’ work on the cross and how we can confess our sins and receive Him as our Savior and Lord. It took a while, but he understood the gospel.
He trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, and then I had him put his hand on that paper with all those sins carefully listed. I then put my hand on his hand and we gave all of it to Jesus and thanked Him for His precious and total forgiveness. Then I took the paper and tore it to shreds right in front of him. I said, “You, my dear brother, are now free.” Since that day, he has been a powerful witness to other inmates, to the prison staff, and to his family. He led his stepfather to Jesus Christ as well as his eleven-year-old son in the prison visiting room.
Once when I was ministering one morning on Florida’s death row, an inmate who had trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord and was now nearing the end of his life on this earth said to me, “God has given me an endless hope rather than a hopeless end!” I felt such a love for him at that precious moment.