“Then the disciples took him (Paul) by night and let him
down through the wall in a large basket.” – Acts 9:25.
Not everyone recognizes that Paul had at least two life-impacting experiences in his life when he became a disciple of Jesus Christ. The first was when Saul, the great persecutor of the church (also called Paul, Acts 13:9), was confronted by Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road. After falling to the ground and a conversation with the Lord, he was instructed to seek out Ananias, in Damascus, and he would be told what to do.
God worked through Ananias, Saul received his Lord and Savior and had his sight restored. Immediately following Saul’s conversion, he began to preach Christ in the synagogues as the Son of God. Scripture says he “confounded the Jew,” and as a result the Jews plotted to kill him.
In his second Damascus encounter, Scripture says the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a basket, and then brought him before the disciples in Jerusalem. Barnabas brought Saul before the apostles where he shared his testimony regarding Jesus. Acts 9:29 says Saul “spoke boldly” and disputed with the Hellenists who attempted to kill him.
No question that Saul had experienced a radical conversion and “hit the ground running” as a man on fire for Jesus Christ. Luke comments in Acts 9:30-31, “they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus. THEN (emphasis mine) the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.”
Saul had certainly stirred things up, everywhere he went as a follower of Jesus. Saul disappears from the scene for several years until Barnabas is sent to bring Saul back to Jerusalem.
Although we don’t know what happened in those silent years Saul spent in Tarsus and in the wilderness, the Saul that was sent to Tarsus was a different Saul than the one who returned. His life (after his wilderness experience) reflected more wisdom, grace, and maturity in Christ.
Saul, in repeating his testimony in Acts 22, recounts how he made an attempt to convince the Lord to allow him to remain in Jerusalem, but the Lord did not agree. The Lord said, “Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.” (vs 21)
In recounting his life in Christ in 2 Corinthians 11, after listing the trials he had endured, he said “If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.” (11:30).
He then proceeds in sharing the testimony of being let down the wall in a basket, as if to say, “the real turning point in my life as a disciple was when I was going down the wall in a basket. Only then, did I realize, how weak I was and how strong Christ was.” Personally, I believe it was going down that wall when Paul fully recognized the essence of the New Covenant, “everything from Him, nothing from me.”
Have you had your basket case experience in Jesus? I have, more than once. When I had a massive burnout requiring hospitalization and six months of rest, I began to realize it was Jesus Christ and His power working in me, not my ability and giftings that enabled me to fulfill the ministry He had called me to do. I must admit that I’ve had more than one trip down the wall, and I believe that we all must become “a basket case” before we can be greatly used by Him.
There are “rope burns” on my hands from going down the wall numerous times. Are you convinced that you can do nothing without Him?
If not, be watching. The basket is on the way to your house.