The scripture reading for today is Acts 16: 26-34
“Suddenly there was such a violet earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once the prison doors flew open, and everybody’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. ‘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 family 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 family.”
Here we find a jailer who is about to kill himself. If a prisoner escaped, the life of the guard was demanded in his place. To take his own life would shorten the shame and distress.
Paul shouts to him not to harm himself. He then responds by asking what he must do to be saved. The jailer had heard that these were preachers of a way of salvation. Now with the earthquake and his own near death, he wanted to know about the way. He was told, “Believe in the Lord Jesus.” This is a concise statement of the way of salvation.
Paul and Silas explained the gospel more thoroughly to the jailer and to all the other members of his household, and they all believed in Christ and were saved.
Being filled with joy is the consistent consequence of conversion, regardless of circumstances.
Dear Lord, help us to reflect on the joy we feel for others when we witness their conversion to believing in Jesus. As we do this, we too remember our own unending joy for our gift of salvation.
Maureen Baldwin firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Concern: Help us to be more like Lydia, the Hellenistic businesswoman famous for her royal purple dyeing works, who opened her home and her heart to the disciples.
(I’d be willing to bet she gave them a few hints on how to improve their wardrobe.)