Paul insisted that he must speak proudly only about his weakness. That seems extraordinary. Other people speak proudly about their own greatness or strength. Therefore, Paul was doing the opposite of what people usually do. Perhaps Paul includes this last incident in chapter 11 to show what he means. Paul has not placed the incidents in this chapter in the order of their dates. Actually, Paulís escape from Damascus was one of his earliest experiences as a Christian. Acts 9:23-25 also describes this event.
Paul begins his description of this event with what seems like a reference to his own importance. The ruler of one of the most important cities in the world had heard about Paulís activities. Damascus, the capital city of Syria, has been an important city for several thousand years*. Paul was speaking about Jesus so powerfully there*, that he (Paul) had upset people across the whole city.
Like most ancient cities, a wall surrounded Damascus. The ruler personally ordered guards to stand at each gate in order to arrest Paul. However, Paulís manner of escape was not a great thing. Probably, Paul felt very ashamed to have to hide in a basket. The other Christians lifted the basket through a window in the city wall. Then they lowered Paul, in the basket, to the ground.
So, early in Paulís Christian life, Paul had seen his own weakness. He was as weak as anyone else was. It would be foolish for him to imagine himself great: only God is truly great. If the ruler of Damascus had arrested Paul, perhaps Paulís life would have ended that day. It was only by Godís strength that Paul was even alive. Therefore, it was Paulís duty to serve God in the strength that God gave to him.
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.