Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Acts 16:19-24

Summary retelling of Acts 16:19-24

The owners of the slave girl recognize that Paul’s action has taken away their ability to make money.  They drag Paul and his friends before the magistrates.  The owners of the slave girl call Paul and his friends Jews who practice things that are not traditionally Roman (identifying them as “outsiders” – another sign that there wasn’t a synagogue in Philippi).  They accuse Paul and his friends of disturbing the city – or at least the economic progress of the city.  The crowds join the attack and the magistrates are swayed by the crowd and order Paul and his friends to be beaten.  When they were sufficiently beaten, Paul and his friends are thrown into prison.  The jailor took the imprisonment seriously and not only locked them into the innermost prison but also put their feet into stocks.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Again we see that it is all about money.  The owners of the slave don’t care that her possession and torment is over.  They simply see that their economic avenue is taken away.  In spite of the fact that Paul and his friends are about freeing people from bondage, the world doesn’t see it that way.  They are tried and imprisoned for thinking about people above economics.

How does it make you feel to realize that money – or access to money – put Paul and his friends in prison?  In what ways do you see people around you caring about money above God and God’s ways?

Second Thought:
Paul and his friends are outsiders.  They are outsiders in many ways.  They are outsiders in that they worship God instead of the Roman pantheon.  They are outsiders in that they aren’t from Philippi.  They are outsiders in that they are pursuing a spiritual agenda instead of a physical/worldly one.  Paul and his friends know that in following God they must welcome the label “outsider.”  {For a neat perspective on this word, listen to the Needtobreathe song called Outsiders.}

Do you consider yourself an outsider?  Should you?  What does it say about a Christian who doesn’t consider themselves an outsider?  What does it say about a Christian who pursues the agenda of the world and therefore isn’t really an outsider?

Third Thought:
The jailor takes his responsibilities quite seriously.  He understands that the prisoners are under his care.  He also knows that under the Roman system, if a captor lets his prisoners go, he is responsible for taking the punishment that the prisoners would have gotten.  He doesn’t want to put himself into that position because Paul and his friends have some serious claims against them.

Although it isn’t a particularly spiritual point, it does give us a good example of how to respond to trust that is placed in us.  If people are counting on us, we need to do everything in our power to respond faithfully.

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 16:25-28
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