GOSPEL MEDITATION # 50
Acts 16:25-40 The Philippian Jailer Converted
- Find a quiet place, alone and apart from 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.
- Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
- Paul and Silas, having come to the attention of some prominent Philippian citizens, are severely beaten then placed in a secure inner prison.
- At midnight, in the dark and dungy prison, the missionaries are praying and singing hymns to God. Other prisoners are listening as well as the jailer and his household.
- An earthquake hits, not a coincidental event, and suddenly the prisoner’s chains fall off and the doors of the prison open. The jailer is also awakened and rushes in.
- Under Roman law, the jailer who has a prisoner escape pays for it with his life. The jailer is about to commit suicide when Paul loudly calls out that all in captivity are still there—no one has escaped.
- The jailer’s response is “What must I do to be saved?” Saved from what? Is a legitimate question. Saved from punishment by the authorities? Or saved from the judgment of a higher authority? It is likely the latter.
- “Believe in Jesus” is the response. From what the jailer overheard in the night must have informed him about his need. He believes (remember God opened Lydia’ heart), and is baptized along with his household, and the similarity is seen with the household of Lydia.
- The jailer’s household is not described, but servants for sure, and maybe others; no indication of children. The jailer is likely a retired Roman soldier.
- Paul refuses to leave the city without proper authority, for the sake of the church just forming perhaps.