Friday, May 18, 2012

Acts 16:29-34


Summary retelling of Acts 16:29-34

The jailor called for the lights to be brought in so he could see the prisoners for himself.  In seeing that they were present, he fell down before them and asked what he must do to be saved.  Paul tells him to simply believe in Jesus Christ.  Paul and Silas get an opportunity to speak to the man and his whole household about Jesus Christ.  The jailor immediately takes care of the wounds of the prisoners (remember that they had been beaten).  After that, Paul baptizes the jailor with his whole family.  The jailor brought them into his house and fed them, rejoicing that he had believed in God.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
The jailer simply cannot believe what he is seeing and hearing.  The jail had been flung open.  There was no reason for the prisoners to stay put.  They were acting out of the normal manner that we might assume for human beings.  The jailor knew at this point that Paul and his associates lived according to a different agenda.  The goals and desires of Paul and his friends were simply not what the jailer was accustomed to in human beings.  They valued truth and honesty and salvation more than they valued safety, security, and freedom.

Why might it be important for us to find as many ways as possible to live according to a different agenda and then demonstrate our different agenda to the world? 

Second Thought:
When the jailer comes in contact with this different agenda – and agenda that showed Paul caring more for the safety of the jailer than for his own safety – the jailer was convicted.  The jailer knew he had to change.  The jailer knew that there was some better way of living than he had previously thought.

How have you encountered people living according to a different agenda than the way of the world?  How have those encounters been important to your own spiritual walk?  How does seeing a godly life in others help convict us about how we should be living?

Third Thought:
Because of the different way of prioritizing life, Paul and Silas (and any others) get an opportunity to not only talk to the jailor but his whole family.  In those days, it was common in small towns that the jail was a part of a person’s home.  So this is what happens.  Paul and his friends are arrested and brought into the jailer’s house as prisoners.  They get an opportunity to show love to the jailer.  They get an opportunity to teach the jailer about Jesus Christ.  They get an opportunity to go out and baptize the jailer and his household.  When they come back to the jailer’s house, this time they are brought in as friends rather than prisoners.  Their wounds are cared for.  Their stomachs are fed.  Hospitality takes over.

Furthermore, imagine Lydia’s reaction the next day (or whenever) when Paul gets to introduce Lydia to the jailer and talk about his conversion!  No doubt Lydia and her household (the early Philippian church) were praying for Paul and his friends in jail. No doubt they will see this as an incredible miracle.

How neat is it that God can take horrible situations and turn them into moments for proclamation?  How neat is it that when we think life is at our bleakest moment God can shatter the darkness and burst in with His presence?  How neat is it that God can take those that we perceive as enemies and make them spiritual brothers and sisters?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 16:35-40
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