Sunday, January 24, 2010

Paul and Silas in PRISON, how things could have been different

The circumstances surrounding the imprisoning of Paul and Silas is quite amazing. I not only refer to the miraculous signs and wonders, or even their grace empowered ability to praise the Lord in the midst of INTENSE agony.
What comes to mind however is how the incident COULD have gone:
Here's Paul and Silas praising the Lord in their shackles and SUDDENLY an earthquake, doors open and chains FALL off. So what would be your FIRST thought? "Praise God, We're OUT OF HERE!" right?! TO add to that we already are reminded how an Angel helped Peter to escape prison, so why wouldn't this be Paul and Silas' first reaction?
Now we have the JAILER who thinks everybody has escaped and rather then face a gruesome death by the hands of the officials for his negligence, he resorts to suicide, but PAUL quickly tries to prevent him and tell him that everybody is still here. What if Paul had 'reasoned' that this moment was all about Paul and Silas, then it would have been easy to convince himself that what this jailer was doing was in fact the judgment of God, why prevent him since it's obvious God providing a way of escape? If Paul speaks out, won't that backfire on him? However that's NOT what Paul reasoned, He rather was more concerned about honoring and glorifying God.
What about the JAILER? He was just prevented from attempted suicide because of fear towards the officials, yet the Lord gives Him such an awakening that he leaves himself vulnerable before prisoners, only concerned with ONE question 'WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET SAVED????'! To top it off, he then shows great service and boldness in ministering to the physical needs of Paul and Silas, then bringing them to his home so that those of his household may hear the gospel! What incredible FRUIT this converted heathen shows in a matter of hours (and though Paul and Silas return to prison (by choice) , the jailer could have been KILLED for what he did).

Acts 16:25-34
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 27The 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. 28But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34The 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 family.

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