25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 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. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 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 household.35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left..
Acts 16: 25-40
The Crown of Life
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.James 1:12
Paul and Silas certainly stood the test and persevered under trials. Who takes joy in being arrested? Who sings in prison? Who doesn’t run when the jail door opens? Who refuses to leave upon being released? It’s none other than people who put their trust in Jesus and have their eyes fixed on the rewards. They considered themselves worthy of suffering for Jesus, who first suffered for them.
Running a marathon is never easy. What keeps me going at mile 10, mile 20, and mile 26 (0.2 miles to go)…? The finish line and the cheering of the spectators! If I had focused on the pain of every step, I wouldn’t have finished any race. Likewise, when we are faced with temptations and trials, turn our eyes upon Jesus and think about the crown of life we will receive. It will help us get through the storms with a smile.
It is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.
What an unlikely place for sharing the good news? The jail guards were probably the most unlikely candidates to witness. But Paul and Silas didn’t care or hesitate. When asked, “what must I do to be saved?” (I sometimes wonder if he’s talking about being saved from the punishment of what just happened), Paul went straight to the ultimate salvation….the gospel. What a glorious salvation that was brought to the guard and his family. We never know what God has in mind when things don’t go as we planned. As you go through Acts, you will see quite a number of those cases. So, be on the lookout for God’s guidance in the midst of setbacks or adversities. Don’t get upset, and stay focused on following Jesus.
Dear Lord, we don’t always feel like going through trials, but we know it’s necessary for our growth. Please help us focus on you and the rewards You’ve prepared for us.