Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | October 7, 2008

Hold the Ropes

The dramatic conversion of the Apostle Paul is recorded in Acts 9. In brief, Paul was a devout Jew who hated the followers of Christ. He secured permission from the high priest to arrest and to persecute Christians in Damascus. On the road to Damascus, Paul had an encounter with Jesus that changed the course of his life.

After his salvation, Paul began to preach the gospel in Damascus, the city where he intended to persecute the followers of Jesus. Those who heard Paul were astonished at his powerful and effective speaking. As a result the Jews became very upset and made plans to kill him.

We don’t know how, but the plot to murder Paul became known to him. Those seeking to kill Paul enlisted the help of the governor, who kept guards at the city gates in hope of catching him (2 Cor. 11:32-33). Paul was trapped in the city of Damascus with no way of escape.

Paul’s disciples, however, came up with a clever plan to help him escape. They took Paul at night, put him in a basket, secured the basket with ropes and lowered him to safety through a window. As a result, Paul was able to escape and continue his work of spreading the gospel throughout Asia Minor and beyond.

Paul was able to escape because there were people willing to hold the ropes for him.

Those who held the ropes for Paul were amazing individuals. We don’t have much information about them but can conjecture that they were not selfish because they were willing to risk their lives to help Paul. Nor are they named. They got caught in the spotlight of Scripture for one fleeting moment but their names were not recorded. And, they received no earthly honor or recognition for helping Paul.

We do know that they recognized the need to cooperate because the task could not be completed alone. They also coordinated their efforts because working in harmony was the only way to get the job done. And, they combined their strength because the task could not be done in the strength of one person.

It’s easy to overlook the people in the background who render valuable service for the kingdom. I have great admiration for rope holders. The work of the kingdom advances because of the faithful service of those who are willing to hold the ropes.

So, hold the ropes and help advance the purposes of God on the planet. Get your hands dirty, bruised, bloodied, calloused, and scarred. Don’t show up in heaven with a clean uniform and smooth hands. That would be the ultimate embarrassment.


  1. Thank you for being willing to hold the ropes to help me continue in ministry. Without your hands on the line, bloody and bruised, I would not have been able to escape to another place of valuable service. I am no Paul, but I am God’s servant, reassured of that fact by your willingness to place your hands on the ropes so I could safely spread the gospel to Brazoria County and beyond.

  2. Steve…

    The 35 “one another” passages in the New Testament remind us that we need each other. God placed you in my path, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to assist in some small way. Thanks for your continued faithfulness in service and in ministry.


  3. Omar,

    I remember when you delivered this message at VPBC. I have notes about it in the back of my Bible. God used that message to deal with me on an issue that was a tough one for me because of the way I was raised. It began a journey for me that helped me to become a more mature servant. Gosh I miss hearing you speak and share your heart. BTW….is the above Steve Bass, my Steve Bass? And by that I mean Steve Bass of the Arizona State Convention?

  4. Becca … I have always had an unusual list of Bible heroes that include people who quietly did things in the background. I have often wondered how some Bible stories might be different were it not for the contributions of people like these. The guys who held the ropes for Paul have been among my favorites. I have enjoyed telling their story through the years.

    The Steve Bass who posted above is not from the Arizona State Convention. He is a personal friend who lives in Katy.

    Thanks for your kind words. I am grateful to God for bringing you and David and your sweet family into our lives.

  5. Omar, (Acts 9:23-25)

    I remembered that, you have been Taught some of us about Paul’s’ fleeing from the Damascus. He was very new convert & a few days ago he was a great torture for those called by name of Christ, the great christens persecutor.

    But when he be come a believer of Jesus, immediately, his people tried to kill him. In these circumstances some believers rescued him.

    The ropes holders are UN named people. We do not know who they are. Only thing we know that, they was enemy one another. But now Paul returned his faith in Jesus, we much need to rescue him.

    So that, without any organizations, Paul was rescued. That day. An enemy believed, a few old believers shown their responsibilities. For their new brother, their shows love.

    You have taught us much better than I wrote here.

    So, my opinions, those believers had holed Ropes correct & accurate, times for Paul. We need to do same…

    Thanks for such an article.


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