Today we had a super small group of people at church due to a wedding in Boston. It seems as thought the whole church was invited minus a few of us newbie members. Either way, we had a service to do and there were still a good number of people there for us to serve, which was great. God seems to always provide those who are needed for each service to make things work out well. This day was no different.
We continued our Acts study (which I have not posted on in a while do to missing some Sundays for family events and even sleeping through my alarm). I was glad to be back in the saddle again with church and with our church community. This story centers on this Philippian jailer who comes to know Christ in a way he would have never expected. Paul and Silas end up in jail for rebuking a slave girl’s demon that aided in making her owners very wealthy. What I find interesting through this story is that, even in the mist of despair and heartache, Paul and Silas pray and sing hymns to the Lord. It is when they took the focus off their current situation and placed it on Christ and His goodness, things changed significantly. At once, there was a great earthquake and the chains and doors of all the prisons were opened. The jailer who was supposed to be watching them throughout the night fell asleep. If any of the jailers had fled the jail on his watch, he would have been killed. Fearing the worst, the jailer attempted to commit suicide with his own sword. Paul cries out to the man though and tells him that everyone is still there; that no one had left the jail and there was no reason to commit suicide. I personally don’t know why Paul and Silas didn’t leave, though I suppose it was a God thing that they didn’t. If they had left then, the Roman guards for running away would have wanted them. Since they had not left, they were not in danger of being hunted.
So comes the most important verse of this chapter, “What must I do to be saved?” Very rarely have I ever had someone come to me and ask me that question. It is not something that you hang your hat on in hopes that someone will ask such a thing. Though, I suppose it does happen and did happen in these events. The response is interesting, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your family.”
Salvation here is not only redemption but is a way of life. The Jewish people understood the ramifications of salvation and what it meant to be the elect of Christ. This ultimately goes back to John 14 – I am the way, the truth, and the life deal. Christ gave people a new way to be human (a great Switchfoot quote). In these events, the jailer came to understand something significant about God. Paul and Silas understood the power of what it meant to be an elect of God. The Pharisees who put Paul and Silas learned that you don’t throw Roman citizens in jail without a fair trial privately and expect them to walk out in the same manner. Being Roman at that time meant you were important; you were a person who was treated like a person and not a second-rate citizen. In Christ, we have that same seal, though not Roman, we are no longer considered second-rate. We are apart of the family of God – the elect of Christ. This is a great thing we should never forget.