Ananias is sent by the Lord to Saul. The calling of his name in a vision and his “Here I am Lord”, the language of “rise and go” and Ananias’ words “I have been sent” – all convey the concept of Ananias as being a prophet being sent to speak a message.
Ananias is to lay hands on Saul so that Saul might regain his sight. In other words, Ananias is the prophetic instrument through whom Saul will receive revelation to give him spiritual sight as well as restore his physical sight – one being a sign of the other.
Initially afraid and being aware of Saul’s mission in Damascus, the Lord responds by saying that Saul will be the Lord’s chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and to Israel. Saul is to become a servant of the LORD who bears witness. The persecutor will become persecuted as a suffering servant. The language strongly reflects the idea of Isaiah’s suffering servant.
Isaiah had spoken of the darkness in which the nations lived in blind ignorance of God as they engaged in idolatry filling the earth with their images. Israel had been unique among the nations in knowing God but they too had then blinded themselves with idolatry. God promised he would demonstrate the difference between himself as the living God and the mute, deaf and blind idols they served – by predicting the future because he knew what he would sovereignly do. God would work to restore Israel – healing their blindness – through means of a particular servant of the LORD (Luke has shown how that servant was Jesus). Israel, having become a witness of God’s saving power would then become the LORD’s servant preaching the good news to the Gentiles and opening the eyes of the blind.
Thus, Israel was the servant of the LORD, but they needed their blindness to be healed. This is accomplished through the suffering servant of the LORD – Israel-reduced-to-one – Jesus. When people are healed of their blindness and put their faith in Jesus then they are united with him. Through that union with him they become part of God’s people healed of blindness and therefore joined with the servant of the LORD they become witnesses of God’s saving actions which they now proclaim to the nations.
Following this logic, Saul is about to become a servant of the LORD as spoken by Isaiah whereby having his own blindness healed he will now proclaim the good news about Jesus turning the nations from the darkness of idolatry into the light of knowing God through Christ.
All Christians can claim to have been called out of idolatry through the regenerating gift of spiritual sight. Having healed eyes we now proclaim the good news of which we, like Saul, have become witnesses.