Escaping by the Skin of His Teeth
This is a vivid example of how much a few words in the biblical narrative may imply. Luke says that after some time in Damascus these things happened. The period in that passing phrase was no less than three years ( Galatians1:18 ). For three years Paul worked and preached in Damascus, and the Jews were so determined to kill him that they even set a guard at the gates so that he could not escape. But the ancient cities had walls that were often thick enough for a chariot to be driven around the top of them. In these walls, there were houses whose windows often projected beyond the walls. In the dead of the night, Paul was taken into one of these houses, let down with ropes in a basket and so smuggled out of Damascus and then set on his way to Jerusalem. Paul is only at the gateway of his adventures for Jesus, but even here he is escaping with his life by the skin of his teeth!
This incident is a witness to Paul's courage. He must have seen the great gathering against him in the synagogues. He knew what had happened to Stephen, he knew what he had intended to do to the Christians, and he knew what could happen to him. Clearly, Christianity for him was not going to be easy but the whole tone of the incident shows to him who can read between the lines that Paul revealed in these dangers. They gave him a chance to demonstrate his new-found loyalty to that Master whom he had persecuted and whom now he loved.
It is also a witness to the effectiveness of Paul's preaching. He was so unanswerable that the Jews, helpless in debate, resorted to violence. No one persecutes a man who is ineffective. George Bernard Shaw once said, "The biggest compliment you can pay an author is to burn his books." Someone else said, "A wolf will never attack a painted sheep. "Counterfeit Christianity is always safe; real Christianity is always in peril. To suffer persecution is to be paid the greatest of all compliments because it is the certain proof that men think we really matter.
Life Application: Have you ever been criticized for anything when you were sure you were right? Have you ever criticized someone when you were sure you were right and that person was wrong, and then you discovered the person was right and you were wrong? What did you do about it?
Praise/Prayer: Dear Father, what a loving and forgiving God You are. You are always right in all you do. I am one who makes the mistakes, but You are quick to forgive. Hallelujah! What a Savior and Lord! Thank You for unending love that the Cross demonstrated. Amen!