Read: Acts 9:23-25
But his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket. (v. 25)
Saul learned very quickly that his life and mission as a Christian would not be an easy road. Here he had barely started following Jesus and he narrowly escaped with his life—in a basket over a wall! And this was just the beginning.
Saul was embarking on a great adventure, but it would not be without difficulties. He seemed to realize this early on. After all, he had seen what happened to Stephen. And he knew the story of Jesus. Still, he didn’t seem to shrink from any of this. In 2 Corinthians 11, he listed his trials and named things like imprisonment, flogging, being pelted with stones, shipwreck, and a host of other perils. If he wanted to boast, he had plenty to boast about—although he is clear in that letter that he does not boast of these things.
Paul certainly had courage! Where did it come from? It came from within—where Christ lived in him. Sometime later he wrote: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Commentator William Barclay says, “Counterfeit Christianity is always safe; real Christianity is always in peril.” If we are to truly follow Jesus, we also will need courage. Trials will come. But Christ’s presence will see us through. —John Koedyker
As you pray, ask the Lord for courage.
About the Author
Rev. John Koedyker has been a pastor in the Reformed Church in America for more than forty years. His ministry began in Japan where he served as a missionary for ten years. After that he has served churches in Iowa and Michigan. He has served as the Stated Clerk of Muskegon Classis, RCA, for the past sixteen years and also presently serves as pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church of Grand Haven, Michigan. John has written a number of times previously for Words of Hope and he has a bi-monthly religion column in the Grand Haven Tribune. He is married to Marilyn, and they have four grown children and seven grandchildren.