13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
Today we read the story of two women. One was Lydia, the seller of luxurious purple goods and a worshiper of God. The second one was a slave girl who had the ability of fortune telling to bring her owners much gain but was possessed by the spirit of divination. The first one was a wealthy master of her own, and the other was a poor enslaved person. Yet both needed the gospel and experienced the change of life brought about by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“…and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.” (Acts 16:13). This reminds me of the incident of Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman by the well. (John chapter 4) It was then Jesus broke the borders of land and traveled to Samaria. He broke the barrier of gender classes and spoke to a woman in public. He also broke the barrier of social graces by approaching this Samaritan woman who was an outcast in the community. And finally, He broke the chains of this woman’s sin and shame. She found the true Messiah of her life (John chapter 4:29). And it is now Paul and Silas followed the same footsteps of Jesus, traveled to a foreign land, took the time to speak to a group of gentile women by the riverside, and brought them the good news that change their lives and their families’.
Jesus also cast demons from many people and freed them from the control of evil spirits. As for the slave girl who had the spirit of divination, her life also changed when Paul cast out the demon from her by the name of Jesus Christ. Her life was shackled by the evil spirit inside her and her owners, who used her fortune-telling ability to make a profit. And now she’s free.
These are just two stories of two individuals whose lives were touched and changed by the power of the name of Jesus Christ and His gospel. When we go and share the good news of Jesus with others, we also have the opportunity to touch their lives and bring changes to them. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” （Romans 1:16). Whether they are Jews or non-Jews, riches or poor, masters or slaves, men or women, God sees the brokenness and needs of each of them. And we are the ones who can bring them the life-changing good news.
Let us be proud and grateful for what we have and what we do! Yet how far are you willing to go for this gospel? And how many barriers are you ready to break for this good news?