(Part 46)




May 7, 2013

Today’s readings: Acts 16:22-34



Paul and Silas were attacked, stripped, beaten with rods, and thrown in prison (Acts 16:22-23). They were put in the innermost cell and their feet secured to a stake (Acts 16:24). They were in an impossible situation. Did they lose heart? Did they rue the day they decided to proclaim Christ? No. They turned even more intently to God. They prayed and sang hymns to God while the other prisoners listened (Acts 16:25). Angelic voices rising in a hell hole! It surely would have touched some hearts of the most hardened prisoners.

Then the miracle. There was a severe earthquake, and all the doors of the prison flew open and their chains pulled loose (Acts 16:26). The jailer was about to kill himself, thinking the prisoners had escaped. Assured by Paul that they were all still there, “he asked for a light and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas (Acts 16:29). His conversion had begun.

The jailer asked for a light, and he received the light of Christ. He trembled with fear, but was even more going to encounter the awesome almighty God. He fell down, and God from that time on started the process of raising him up, eventually all the way to heaven.


Faith works wonders. The faith of Paul and Silas resulted in a great miracle. The jailer and his house came to faith in Jesus. He immediately put that faith into works, as he bathed the wounds of the two and fed them. And he was in awe and wonder at what had happened to him as he “with his household rejoiced at having come to faith in God.” (Acts 16:34b).

God uses circumstances, often painful to us, to bring people to Himself. Many people, like the jailer, do not realize how deep into darkness and dungeons their lives are. They may never just by themselves ask the question: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). God needs to break into their lives. God then gives people like us, like Paul and Silas, the privilege to suffer in order to enable us to proclaim the gospel.

Let us be about the work of the New Evangelization. Let us shout out to the whole world: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.” (Acts 16:31).

The results will be wondrous, just as then, when “there was suddenly such a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.” (Acts 16:26). Evangelization is earthshaking work. The foundations of hell will be shaken. The doors holding people captive in darkness will be opened. The chains binding people in sin will be pulled loose.

Let it be said of us today: “they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in his house.” (Acts 16:32).


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