Message From A Basket

Photo by Jocelyn Morales on Unsplash

Turn with me in your Bibles to Acts 9:15.

Last week we saw a man named Saul knocked down on the Damascus Road by Jesus Christ our Lord. The man was arrogant. The man was self righteous. The man was murderous. The man was calloused, with a hardened heart. But Jesus had a plan for this man’s life. Knocked down and blinded, this now repentant man was led to Damascus, where he waited three days without sight, food, or water (Acts 9:9).

Saul waited on the Lord … and on the Lord’s servant Ananias. On the third day Jesus spoke to Ananias and told him to “put your hand on him, that he might receive his sight”. Jesus was talking about more than just physical sight. When Ananias touched Saul, he would gain both physical and spiritual sight.

Saul Is A Chosen Vessel

Ananias was scared to go to Saul, but the Lord assured him. Read with me:

Acts 9:15-18 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy {Spirit}. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized …

Word Study: Let’s talk about this before we go any further. Jesus called Saul a chosen vessel. The word vessel is the Greek σκεῦος skeûos, {pronounced skyoo’-os}, a “container or pot”, something whose value is determined by what it contains inside. If I had two skeûos or vessels before me, one filled with gold and the other filled with feathers, which skeûos would be more valuable? Certainly it would be the one filled with gold. Up to this point, Saul as a skeûos was filled with the purpose of fallen man. But Jesus is going to fill this man with something better, a greater purpose, and make his life much more valuable. This Saul was a skeûos that would, as Jesus said, bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (vs 15). The other Apostles were concentrating on carrying the Gospel to other Jews. This was their first priority. God the Son did not just come to save the Jews, but to save whosoever will believe in Him (John 3:16), or “the WORLD”. As John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ to the Jews, Saul would be the forerunner of Christ to the Gentiles, to kings, and yes, still to the children of Israel.

We who believe are all to be skeûos for Jesus. Like Saul, we are empty unless filled with the magnificent purpose of Christ. We are to empty out of ourselves anything that is sinful or evil. Saul would later write:

2 Timothy 2:19-21 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels {skeûos} of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel {skeûos} unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

To do his work for Jesus, Saul would have to suffer. So many Christians believe that salvation is all about comfort. No, salvation is all about being available for Jesus to use. Jesus told Ananias, I will shew {Saul} how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (vs 16). We’ll talk more about this later.

When Ananias gets to where Saul is, he lays his hands on him, and says:

Acts 9:17 Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy {Spirit}.

Saul would get both his physical as well as his spiritual sight back. We know that Saul was immediately saved, because he he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. Those who serve Jesus are obediently baptized, as Jesus has commanded. The most important thing for Saul was not to eat (for he had been three days without food) nor to drink (for he had been three days without water). The most important thing for Saul was to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. After he was baptized:

Acts 9:19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

Saul joined himself to other disciples , and began to do the Lord’s will. He began to share the Gospel.

The World Does Not Like The Gospel
Nor Its Chosen Vessels

Acts 9:20-22 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. 21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? 22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

Saul started out as the Chief Prosecutor of this “cult” they called “Christian”. But on the Damascus Road Saul underwent heart surgery. He met the Lord Jesus, and gave his life to the Master. This confused the leaders of Judaism, and especially those of the Sanhedrin, the Ruling Council of the Jews. As Saul surrendered more and more of his life to Jesus, we read:

vs 22 Saul increased the more in strength

Word Study: Robertson’s Word Studies notes, “’Increased the more’ (mallon enedunamouto). Imperfect Passive Indicative of endunamoo, to receive power (late verb), progressive increase in strength as opposition grew. Saul’s recantation stirred controversy and Saul grew in power. “”

The more the dark pushed against Saul, the more God used Saul. Before Saul knew Jesus he was driven by


When people will not follow Jesus, but fill their vessel (skeûos) with the darkness of the world, they will naturally attack the light that is in Christ and His people. Darkness despises light. The devil – called “the god of this world” in Scripture – is in constant battle over light. He has even learned to mimic light. The Scripture says:

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Application: Yet the light of God, Jesus Christ, broke through the darkness of Saul’s life on the Damascus Road. Saul began to serve the Lord. The more he served, the stronger his faith got. The more his faith was opposed, the greater his faith got. Beloved, if you want to have strong faith, you need to get off the couch, get out of the armchair, and obey the leading of Jesus.

The more you exercise your faith, the more your faith will grow. We are commanded to “grow in Grace and in knowledge”.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

As Saul grew in his faith, sharing his love of Jesus (for “he preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.” Acts 9:27), the ruling Jews could not overcome Christ in Saul. What did they do? We read:

Acts 9:23-24And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: 24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.

In the ancient world the areas outside of the cities were occupied with robbers, thieves, and worse. For this reason most major cities were walled about, and the only way to get into the city was through the gates. The ruling Jews (the Pharisees, Sadducees, Priests and Scribes) set up teams to watched the gates day and night to kill Saul.

Application: If you are living your life for Jesus, empowered by the Spirit of God, the world will not love you. It may tolerate you, but there will always be natural friction between the Christ follower and the world follower. The Christ follower is a “new creature in Christ: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The lost person is “dead in trespasses and in sin”. The Bible says:

Colossians 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross..

Before salvation we were all lost and blind. Like the song Amazing Grace says:

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I’m found,
Was blind, but now I see!

If Grace does not change you from a light hater to a light giver, your salvation is untrue. In Jesus is Light! Those saved will shine for Him!

The world would love us, if we would but compromise the message of the Cross. Recently Pastor Danny de Armas of First Baptist Church, Orlando, Florida publicly stated:

We have transgender, LGBTQ, straight, single, married, divorced and cohabiting people,” de Armas said. “These same people attend, listen, serve, grow and give”.

This is an interesting statement, and perhaps he misspoke. All people should “attend and listen”. But only those who have surrendered their lives to Christ should “serve”. Though Jesus often sat with sinners (Mark 2:15-17; Matthew 9:10-17; Luke 5:29-31). When asked why He ate and fellowshipped with sinners, our Lord replied:

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32, NIV)

There is no place in Scripture where Jesus ever
called an unrepentant person to serve Him.

In fact, the Scripture is quite plain:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Salvation brings about a change in a person. You are “delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ” (Colossians 1:13). You are now children of Light, not of darkness.

And this infuriates the world!

The Chosen Vessel Was Saved In A Basket

Acts 9:25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

Saul couldn’t get out of the city because killers waited at the gates. But the disciples – other Christians in the city of Damascus, came together and let him down by the wall in a basket.

Saul is God’s “chosen vessel” or skeûos. God does not want Saul killed on his very first mission trip. Saul must go to the “Gentiles, Kings, and Children of Israel”. He has much more to do. So God, through His people, invent the very first elevator in human history. It had a capacity of one Saul!

Word Study: The word translated basket is a very interesting word. You may never have thought of baskets as having much do do with the Gospel. Yet baskets are very important. In Matthew chapter 14 (Matthew 14:21; Mark 6:44; Luke 9:14; John 6:10) Jesus feeds a multitude of over 5000 Jewish people with 2 fish and five small biscuits. This crowd was outside Bethsaida. At the end of the meal over 5000 were fed, and the Scripture says:

Matthew 14:20 … they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

Word Study: There were twelve baskets (kóphinos) full of leftovers at the end of that meal. The word kóphinos refers to a small or standard sized wicker basket. Why twelve? Because there are twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus has the power to feed all of Israel, with more besides.

In the very next chapter, Matthew 15:34-38 (also Mark 8:9) after the feeding of the 5000 is the feeding of the 4000. This crowd was primarily Gentiles on the border of Decapolis (Mark 7:31). In this miracle Jesus took seven loaves or biscuits, and some fish, and miraculously fed over 4000 people. The Bible says:

Matthew 15:37 And {all these Gentiles} did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets (spyris) full.

This time the word for “baskets” is not kóphinos, but spyris, which means “a large plaited reed basket, a hamper”. Jesus would later ask His disciples:

Matthew 16:9-10 Do ye not … remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets {kóphinos} ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets {spyrís} ye took up?

What’s my point? When Jesus fed to 5000+ JEWS He had 12 kóphinos left over, but with the 4000+ GENTILES Jesus fed he had 7 spyrís left over. When Saul was lowered down the wall to escape his death, he was lowered in a spyrís. Saul’s primary ministry was to be to the GENTILES, not the JEWS.

God’s Chosen Vessel was saved by a spyrís, and by faithful Christians willing to work for Jesus.

God calls no one to be a “one man show”, but we are all to work together in one accord for Jesus. We must support one another if we are going to work for Christ and bring light into this fallen world. Someone has to be in the basket, but it takes several someones to lower that basket to safety.

Application: Is what you do for Jesus important? Absolutely! There are no unimportant jobs within the Kingdom of God. Is the person carrying the tent pegs did not take his job seriously when Israel moved the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle – and thus God’s Shekinah Glory – would not have been manifested at the next stop. Everything Jesus calls us to do is important. It saddens me when people avoid the local Church until they find themselves in the hospital, or at death’s door.

Sooner or later we all find ourselves to be in need of the basket. You cannot lower yourself, saving yourself from the enemy. You need the fellowship of Christ following believers.

1 Corinthians 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.

1 Corinthians 12:26-27 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Jesus calls His Church to work together for the glory of God. We are not to blend with the world, but to follow Jesus while walking together with our Christian family. We are not to be children of disobedience. “There was a time when you were part of the darkness, but now you are light in the Lord: walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:6-8).

Where God Leads Us, God Will Provide

God wants us to reeach out to the world, to share the Gospel of Christ with whosoever will. The Scripture says:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

For Saul to reach the Gentile world with the Gospel, he must get out of Damascus in one piece. God provided a spyrís, a basket just large enough to hold Saul safely. God provided disciples of Christ, who together were able to lower Saul down to safety.

Saul would later be known as Paul the Apostle, who would plant many Churches, and share the Gospel until the day of his death. The faithfulness of the unnamed, unknown disciples that lowered Saul to safety is why we who are Gentiles know about the Gospel of salvation in Christ.

I thought you might want to know this.

May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts and lives with His Word. Go forth for Jesus. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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