Monday 1 August, 2016
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying. They were also singing hymns to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a powerful earthquake. It shook the prison from top to bottom. All at once the prison doors flew open. Everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up. He saw that the prison doors were open. He pulled out his sword and was going to kill himself. He thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 “Don’t harm yourself!” Paul shouted. “We are all here!” 29 The jailer called out for some lights. He rushed in, shaking with fear. He fell down in front of Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out. He asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus. Then you and everyone living in your house will be saved.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him. They also spoke to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night, the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Right away he and everyone who lived with him were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house. He set a meal in front of them. He and everyone who lived with him were filled with joy. They had become believers in God.
This is extraordinary.
I can understand that an earthquake might break the doors of the jail, maybe even all the doors. But what kind of earthquake can make chains fall off arms and legs? What’s happening here is much bigger than an earthquake.
The doors are open and the chains are gone, but none of the prisoners are. They can see who’s at work here. They’ve been listening to Paul and Silas praying and praising God for hours. And I suspect they want to be part whatever this is.
Paul has just saved the jailer from killing himself, and he says “what must I do to be saved”. He can see that it’s more important than life and death, and that it demands a response.
Paul’s Roman citizenship would have guaranteed a release in the morning. God was literally moving Heaven and Earth so that these prisoners, this jailer and his household could be saved. Let’s face it, compared to Jesus coming looking for me and dying in my place, even an earthquake is a small thing.
It all began with Paul and Silas seeing God in their situation, in the smelly, cold, scary place they were in, and rejoicing. It began with them refusing to be quiet about their wonderful God, despite their less than wonderful experience.
It ended with lives truly saved. It ended with prisoners truly set free from much more than just a jail.
I’m inspired. My God is this same wonderful God who still acts as powerfully now as He did then.
Father, give me eyes like Paul and Silas to see you in the midst of my worst day, and rejoice. Give me their boldness to speak what I know to be true about you, even when it looks crazy.
Written by David Cornell
Thanks for the insight David, never thought of the chains not being able to fall off with an earthquake, what a truly awesome God we have.