They [Paul and Silas] 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.
Thoughts for Today:Paul and Silas had been imprisoned. However, the Lord sent an earthquake which not only threw open the doors of the prison but also caused everyone's chains to fall off. A jailers' primary responsibility is to keep prisoners from escaping, and in Biblical times this responsibility came with the threat of death. So when the jailer saw the open doors of the prison he immediately thought everyone had escaped; in other words, the unforgivable had occurred and his only alternative was to kill himself. But the prisoners had not left as Paul and Silas called out, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!" The jailer, in great relief fell then at their feet and asked the question, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
Don't you find this scenario and sequence of events interesting? Here a jailer falls at the feet of his prisoner and asks them what it takes to be saved. Previously, in verse 25, "About midnightPaul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God." When? Before their chains fell off. You see our witness and testimony is most effective when we demonstrate our faith in difficult circumstances, before we are delivered. That is when faith is more than words, it becomes practical and alive. When the jailer first heard Paul and Silas express their faith (while they were still chained) it probably sounded hollow and philosophical much like people today treat our words -- just another religious approach. But that wasn't their full witness, it was also what happened after the doors flew open -- they didn't just leave -- happy and content in their own personal freedom. Instead and most convincing to the jailer was not just Paul and Silas' faith, or even God's response, it was the concern they expressed for the jailer's life by not leaving. It's what they did after the miracle that mattered most -- they saved his life practically by not escaping.
Questions to Ponder:Paul and Silas demonstrated their faith both before and after God's miracle. It was "then they spoke the Word of the Lord" to the jailer. The jailer had been prepared to hear the Word of the Lord. Have you ever considered that how you model your faith is more important than your words could ever be? What do people see in your behavior when you are facing a crisis? Do they see you in prayer and worship? What about afterwards? Have you considered the purpose of a miracle might not be for your personal escape, but instead remaining in bondage as a witness of selfless love to save another in a very practical way? Think about that the next time God delivers you from a jam -- look around and see who needs to be saved -- it might not be a fellow prisoner, it just might be the jailer.