“And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.” Acts 16:31-32 (ESV)
The story of Paul and Silas’ imprisonment unfolds in Acts 16:16-40. While doing the work of the Lord in Philippi, Paul cast out a spirit of divination from a slave girl. Her owners brought them before the magistrate for proclaiming and performing acts unlawful for Roman citizens. The crowd attacked Paul and Silas and the men were severely beaten. They were then thrown into the most secure part of the prison and shackled for extra measure.
Later that night, by all rights, Paul and Silas should have been tending to their wounds or getting much needed rest and recovery. They could have been bitter about their attack and imprisonment. Instead, they offered prayers and praises to the Lord. The Lord heard them, shook the earth, and all the doors and shackles were loosed. The jailer feared that the prisoners had escaped and was about to take his own life in despair, but Paul cried out to him. Paul and Silas spoke the Word of the Lord to the jailer and his household. His family rejoiced together, proclaiming their belief in God.
How often do you feel like you are being scrutinized for doing the Lord’s work? Have you ever been put on public display and persecuted for sharing your faith…or for simply standing up for what it right? How do you respond to the attacks of the enemy? Do you repay evil with evil to the extent of that which you have suffered? Or do you choose to sing the praises of the Lord despite your circumstances?
Paul and Silas, through their selfless attitudes, brought deliverance to the jailer, both in the natural and the spiritual. Furthermore, salvation and revival spread throughout the jailer’s entire household.
Practical Application: Sometimes, the people in the “crowd” are our own unsaved family members. If God can bring salvation to the family of a jailer through the testimony of strangers, how much more can the Lord use each one of us to reach members of our own beloved family? We may not always have control over our circumstances, but we do have control over our reaction to them.