Gospel Meditation #49
The Conversion of Lydia & Paul and Silas in Prison
- Find a quiet place without distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- Paul, Silas, Luke, and Timothy arrive in Europe, and stay in the Macedonian city of Philippi. They hear of and then visit a place of prayer (evidently no synagogue in the city) by a river on a Sabbath day.
- The missionary/evangelists speak to a group of women gathered there. One of them, Lydia from a prominent city, Thyatira (modern day Turkey and one of the 7 cities of the Book of Revelation) has her heart opened by the Lord.
- She is baptized, probably in that river, and also her household. (We have no details about the nature of the household.)
- She invites the apostolic team to her home; Paul and company eventually agree to do so.
- Fortune telling, divination, common in that era as centuries before, comes into view. A “slave girl” who makes big money for her handlers, follows the preachers and announce what sounds like an honorable and exalted spiritual authority and message. But Paul is annoyed.
- At some point, Paul commands the python spirit indwelling the slave girl to come out of her. It does.
- The result is she can no longer tell fortunes. Normally she would give knowledge of something in a person’s past thereby setting up a divination, which would be expensive.
- Now her handlers are upset and seek to punish Paul and Silas. They are stripped, beaten with rods, and cast into a maximum security part of a prison. There feet in stocks, they cannot even move.