When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: "Release those men." The jailer told Paul, "The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace."
Thoughts for Today:There are many interesting dynamics at work here (the jailer, his family, the magistrates, business people in power who started the whole thing, the Jews, the believers, etc). When I read Scripture, I like to pause for a minute and try to imagine what it would be like to personally be involved in the story. I wonder if one of the magistrates woke up the next morning and said, "Oh no, what did we do to those guys? I got caught up in the moment and allowed those business people to influence me. Paul and Silas didn't really do anything wrong, I hope they don't sue us, we better let them out of jail right now." Perhaps one of the new believers (Lydia?) had applied political pressure to get Paul and Silas released. (If the pastor from my church had been arrested on false charges, beaten and thrown in jail, you can be sure I would be making phone calls and working all night to get him out of prison as well.) But what about Paul and Silas -- how do you think they felt the next day when they got the word -- "Now you can leave. Go in peace." I don't know about you but after being stripped naked, severely flogged and beaten, spending the night in jail locked in chains, then being released -- my initial reaction would be relief which would then turn quickly to anger and indignation.
Before we move on to our next devotion in which we will see how Paul and Silas handle this situation, allow yourself to be them for just a moment -- how would you feel and what would you do about it?
Questions to Ponder:It's easy to be Christ-like when there is no persecution, beating, or false imprisonment. Would you go in peace or would it be pay back time? What does the Bible say about standing up for and defending our rights and the rights of others? What would you do? What would you want done by others for you?