Seeing in the Dark

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken.  At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.  The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself!  We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.  The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God — he and his whole household.
Acts 16:25-34

Reflections

Paul and Silas were imprisoned because they shared the gospel of Jesus Christ, which angered corrupt business and city leaders.  Let’s consider a few highlights in this passage:

  • Praying and singing – at midnight, while behind prison bars and chains.  Almost anyone can sing when things are going great, however others notice and give attention (v 26) when a believer will “pray and sing at midnight”.  Often the most effective Christian testimony is when circumstances are dark, uncomfortable, and unfair.  To sing at midnight in prison is a powerful testimony of hope and trust in our Lord.
  • Who is really free? – it’s ironic that prison bars and chains do not dictate a prisoner’s freedom.  The jailer was supposedly free, but we find him imprisoned by fear and hopelessness (v.27).  Paul and Silas were in chains but their joy and hope in Christ gave them unfettered freedom.  Real freedom is a condition of the heart and soul.  Are you living in the freedom provided by the salvation of Jesus Christ in your life?
  • A life-changing question and answer – the jailer (who by human standards was in a better position than the prisoners) was willing to admit his need to be saved, and the solution is the same for all people at all times.  “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved… ”  That means the Lord will save anyone who will humbly admit need and surrender to Him.
  • The great equalizer – it has been said that the ground is level at the cross, meaning that all people need the salvation offered through the cross of Jesus.  We need the conviction of Paul and Silas who reached and cared for the man who should have been their enemy.  Too often, we allow differences to dictate our actions; that’s not the gospel way.  The gospel of Jesus transcends position, possessions, skin color, language, and even preferences.  Regardless of differences, the gospel is the great equalizer.  God so loved every person in the world, that He sent His Son.

 

Peter and Silas shared their trust in Jesus with the jailer.  Whom will you share Jesus with?

Written by Paul Rummage
Missions & Engagement Pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church

Questions

Do your circumstances dictate your attitude?  Are you praying and singing even in the dark times?

Do you really believe the gospel is for all people?  Ask the Lord to remind you of someone who is “different” than you (nationality, age, background, employment, color, etc.) so you can share the gospel life and love with that person.

Let's Pray

Lord God,
We admit our tendency to see and respond to circumstances and people with our own perceptions and understandings. Father, please help us to see in the dark times and respond with the hope and grace and love that Jesus poured into our lives.
Amen

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