We're Still Here

New Blog Image.jpg

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” (Acts 16)

What compelled Paul and Silas who had been stripped, beaten and thrown into jail to not escape at this moment of opportunity? All the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were unfastened and yet these two men decide to stay in the cell?

What would you do in that moment?

There is little doubt that most of us would have viewed this miraculous earthquake as God's instrument for our own deliverance, but Paul and Silas discerned it differently. These two men perceived God's display of power as an opportunity to seek the jailer’s deliverance — for he was bound with the chains unseen.

The city of Philippi was a Roman colony, and Roman law severely punished those who escaped from prison. Public honor was extremely important in this society, and so Paul and Silas stay in the cell to possibly avoid the negative stigma that would have come with being people who escaped prison.

They cared more about the integrity of their Christian witness than their own individual freedom.

This is an important reminder for us today who live in “the land of the free.” What do we often find ourselves more concerned about — our individual freedom or the integrity of our witness?

True ambassadors for God's Kingdom are abnormal members of society whose methods can seem like madness to everyone else. Paul and Silas are presented with a chance to free themselves and yet they stay and save the jailer from suicide. He is so blown away that they stayed and saved him that he desperately wants to know more about this Lord that they serve. The story ends with the jailer’s whole household swearing their allegiance to Jesus, and Paul and Silas are actually set free and receive a public apology and vindication for their mistreatment.

Paul and Silas saw the open doors of their jail cell as an open door into the jailer’s heart. This man was confused by these two mysterious men, but then he became captivated by their mysterious message.

May we learn this lesson laid before us through the exceptional example of Paul and Silas. Let’s protect the integrity of our witness, and lets train our own hearts to seek opportunities to save others rather than just jumping on opportunities to save ourselves.