October 16, 2010

Nameless But Notable II: Human Torches

"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, "Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!" The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family." Acts 16:25-34

Ah yes, the suicidal jailer who thought he had lost his prisoners. We need to understand that any soldier or guard that lost his prisoners at this time would've more than likely been put to death, probably a painful one to serve as an example to others. It is not surprising given his assumed circumstances that he was ready to fall on his own sword to spare himself a torturous death that would've inevitably ensued had Paul, Silas and the other prisoners actually left after they escaped.

"Don't not harm yourself, for we are all here!"

Probably the most blessed words this jailer heard in his entire life. The jailer either through reverence or respect fell at the feet of Paul and Silas and what are the first words from his mouth?

"What must I do to be saved?" ...and is literally converted on the spot. Not only him but his family too. We see two things take place following this episode. We see the Word acted out in the behavior of Christian integrity in Paul and Silas. We also see the audible Word working with its authority in the hearts of the people after the Christian behavior and acts drew them in through its importance and appeal. Regardless, it is the Word working both times either through hearing it directly or through the actions of believers that have internalized the word and "live it" like Paul.

The midnight ceremony of conversion of these new converts is then followed by baptism, a love feast and confession of the Lord Jesus Christ. Man! It don't get no better than that. I could only hope that some of my potential conversion prospects would be this easy to win to the faith. It usually ends up like pulling teeth from somebody that wants to keep them.

Another thing we see in this amazing conversion is the Holy Spirit already laid the ground work and paved the path for the Word directly into the jailers heart. Wake up people! This was only instantaneous and so exacting because of the divine work of God. The actions of Paul and his cohorts was only the catalyst to make it happen or the match that lit the fire that had all the fuel there ready to burn...like a torch in the darkness for others to see. God used Paul to win the jailer, God used the jailer to win his family. How many more do you suppose were won through the jailer and his family because of a simple act of integrity followed by a simple act of belief and a confession of faith?


ArtWerx said...

this was the exact scripture/story i was discussing with my son last night...you've added so much for me to think about! i guess what they did sort of underlined what Jesus did, making a really good pointer for the jailer dude! also, diamond level Treasure in Heaven for them, to find strength to rejoice & praise God in the middle of such a dregs experience! i have much to Rejoice Over now...and i WILL!!! PRAISE GOD!!! (:D Have a Great Day! (:D

Andy Pierson said...

Thanks BP..:P

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