When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go. As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea.
Thoughts for Today:It seems that the city officials made a deal with Jason, "We'll let you and the brothers go, but you have to get rid of Paul and Silas." They even forced him to put up money (a bond) as security for his promise to do just as they had ordered. I won't judge Jason's rightness or wrongness in this specific negotiation, although I can see a lot of reasons to do it (saving Paul and Silas lives, bringing a riot to a peaceful ending, etc.); and some not to (compromises the message of Jesus, perhaps God wanted another "prison" event so He could miraculously free them, etc.). One thing that Jason's ordeal got me to thinking about was how much my faith and commitment to values is tested when I come under pressure.
One day recently I was busy in my office at home with a work project that had a critical deadline, I needed to finish it before the end of the day. My six year old daughter Amanda was home with me (my wife was committed to a mission project at church), and I was trying to keep her busy for long enough stretches to allow me to fully concentrate. Unfortunately as the day wore on, reading, doing homework, and playing alone were losing interest and she began to interrupt me more frequently. As parents we all know the solution to this problem -- television. I really hate that answer but I compromised. Why? Because continued interruptions and not finishing my project was not an acceptable option. So I chose the route of least resistance -- I traded my quiet time for television. In other words, I negotiated a compromise.
In our passage today, Jason was certainly under pressure and he looked for and found a way out. He was under pressure to quell a riot and save the lives of Paul and Silas (perhaps his own as well). He then did what he thought was right -- he negotiated a compromise: "Don't kill Paul and Silas or anyone else, and I'll get them to leave town." Right or wrong, we'll let God be the judge.
Questions to Ponder:When was the last time you were under pressure? Did you compromise one of your values? Without the pressure, what would you have done differently? How do you reconcile your decisions in those high pressure situations with ones that are not? How can you find consistency? There isn't always a right or wrong answer but it is good to ask these questions of any decision.