Daily Reading: 5-9-16
Acts 16:35-40 New Living Translation
The Apostle Paul and his missionary companion, Silas, have been unjustly beaten and placed in jail while in Philippi. The reason for this treatment is because Paul decides to cast a demon out of a young girl. The demon in this girl speaks the truth about Paul, Silas, and God, but is doing so in order to make evil look godly—remember Satan comes as an angel of light to rob the glory from God. Paul takes issue with the lie by casting out the demon. He makes a lot of people angry, because they are making money from the evil in this girl; the evil fed money fountain becomes dry.
While Paul and Silas are in prison (unjust place) singing praises to God and witnessing about God’s glory to the fellow inmates, God sends an earthquake to bring them freedom. The chains fall off and the cell doors open; the God of Justice moves in behalf of His children. The jailer tries to kill himself because he is afraid all the prisoners have escaped; it’s what he would have done. Yet, Paul and Silas remain in the jail in order to bring salvation to the jailer and his family. We pick up our reading from there…
35 The next morning the city officials sent the police to tell the jailer, “Let those men go!” 36 So the jailer told Paul, “The city officials have said you and Silas are free to leave. Go in peace.”
37 But Paul replied, “They have publicly beaten us without a trial and put us in prison—and we are Roman citizens. So now they want us to leave secretly? Certainly not! Let them come themselves to release us!”
38 When the police reported this, the city officials were alarmed to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. 39 So they came to the jail and apologized to them. Then they brought them out and begged them to leave the city. 40 When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town.
In our connection to Christ, there are always lessons to be learned. Sometimes those lessons are for us and sometimes those lessons are for others around us. In our reading today, we find Paul standing in Christ to make sure the lessons are learned. For Paul and Silas, they learn God is with them even in unfair situations. They learn to sing and praise God in the midst of hard places. In fact, Paul and Silas learn God will even use an unjust situation in order to bring salvation to more people—the jailer and his family. Paul and Silas offered their lives to Christ; so, God allowed them to represent Christ in that moment through those lessons.
The lessons are also for others who don’t know Christ. The jailer learns Christ’s followers are filled with integrity and courage and he wants to become one. He also learns God loves and treasures him and his family. The politicians have some lessons, too. Paul refuses to accept his and Silas’ freedom to leave Philippi without an audience with their accusers; Paul calls the politicians out for their poor leadership and the injustice he has suffered under their corrupt leadership. He speaks Truth in order to protect other believers from suffering the same treatment.
Prayer: Father, help me to allow Your integrity and courage to direct my life path today, so I may be a proper example to others who may be searching for You. Jesus, cause me to use my faith in Your Higher purpose for things if I find myself treated unfairly. Put praise on my lips in those moments, because worship releases the chains of unforgiveness. Thank You for Your love for my family, Lord. Holy Spirit, help me to speak Truth in Love when I have suffered from evil with the purpose of protecting others who may be vulnerable. In Jesus’ name. Amen.