July 18th 2009

A Story To Tell

6 of 12 studies taken from Acts 7 to Acts 14

“At once he (Saul) began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, Isn’t he the man who caused havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?
Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.”
Acts 9:20-25 (NIV UK)

From attacking ‘The Way’, ┬áSaul went on to proclaiming it whenever he could.

The very Jews who had hoped to welcome him as their champion against this new Way were the ones who sought now to kill him. Saul had betrayed their cause. Instead of stamping out belief in Jesus as the Christ, he was promoting it. It is an exciting story in one way, especially when Saul is rescued by fellow believers and lowered in a basket to safety outside the walled city of Damascus. It sounds precarious to me. I wonder how long the potential drop was, and just how flimsy and unsteady was that basket?

Whatever happened, it left an indelible impression on Saul’s mind. He remembers it vividly in II Corinthians 11:32-33. It appears that the Jews had enlisted the help of local authorities. “In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands”.

Life with Jesus can be unpredictable, frightening and exhilarating. Once, when I was in Kenya, I had a narrow escape. A friend and I had been conducting a Bible Study in a local hotel. Little did we know that an angry crowd had gathered just along the street from us. They were upset with government decisions but were ready to turn on anyone who looked out of place. When we left the hotel the crowd saw us and charged toward us. We darted into the car which would not start! The rioters were just a few feet away when an amazing thing happened. There was a clap of thunder and it began to hail, causing the mob to disperse quickly. I turned the ignition again, the car started, and we drove out of harm’s way, our hearts thumping, beaming smiles on our faces. Sometimes it causes me to wonder.

Do you have a story to tell?

Wonderful God, thank you for your involvement in my life and for the ways both big and small in which you intervene to help me!

Study by James Henderson