About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying
and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened,
there was suddenly such a severe earthquake
that the foundations of the jail shook;
all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose.
When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open,
he drew his sword and was about to kill himself,
thinking that the prisoners had escaped.
But Paul shouted out in a loud voice,
“Do no harm to yourself; we are all here.” (Acts 16:25-28)
Today’s first reading, I must confess, is one that is very hard for me to hear or consider.
It speaks to the very heart of courage, in my humble opinion.
Paul and Silas has been arrested. They were treated quite savagely, beaten with rods, and thrown into prison.
That night, an earthquake shook the jail so completely that the doors flew open and the chains came out of the wall.
Again, since this is confession mode, I must say with all honesty, I would have been out of there. History. Sayonara!
That is, I would.
No. Not Paul and Silas.
The jailer knew that was what he would do as well. That was why he rushed in and, seeing the open doors, drew his sword to kill himself, just knowing that his prisoners escaped.
Again, if fear had kept me in my cell, I would probably have not said a word, hoping that the jailer would kill himself so that I could then escape.
No. Not Paul and Silas.
They shouted out to the jailer, assuring him that they were, indeed, still inside. They did not want the jailer to harm himself.
Their courage and their compassion were enough for the jailer. He wanted to know what he needed to do to be saved. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved,” was what he heard.
So he took Paul and Silas to his home. Paul and Silas proclaimed the Word of God to the household. They became believers and were saved.
All because Paul and Silas had the courage to remain and the compassion to prevent their jailer from harming himself.
FAITH ACTION: When the going gets tough, do you get going? Do you run in fear? Or are you willing to have the courage that comes from the Lord to proclaim His Good News so that others may have the chance to believe and be saved? What was the last bit of good news that you proclaimed? Have you extended an invitation to anyone to believe? If not recently, try to do so today.