Thursday, July 13, 2006

Stocks and Bonds

The Philippian Jailer

…And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open; he drew his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
Acts 16:27-34

This account of Paul and Silas’ time in prison leave us with some very interesting observations. There are a number of things I could point out, but I would like to first discuss the issue of the Jailer’s salvation.

It was obvious that he knew of the two men’s faith. They were quite vocal about it, even singing praises unto God in the midst of the prisoners, locked in the stocks.

However, God orchestrated an unusual thing to happen; an earthquake that opened every door and unlocked every chain. Here was their opportunity to escape, after all were they not unjustly arrested in the first place? But Paul had a true heart for evangelism, and here it shines through. In the midst of this chaos he cries out for the jailer to not commit suicide. The same man that was cruel and harsh with Paul and Silas is now being rescued from death by them. In one night he is saved both physically and spiritually.

Now the jailer didn’t need any more prompting, he realized that God was indeed a mighty God and the sudden realization of his lost state overwhelmed him. Rushing into the cell, he fell before them, and in a trembling voice asked what he must do to be saved…

What would you have said? Here is the simplicity of the gospel; all that is recorded for us is that was told to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved”.

The next verse describes them as speaking the word of the Lord to him and his household.

After this he and his whole household were baptized in obedience to the word of God. Then he began to wash the wounds of Paul and Silas as well as feed them. His once indifferent attitude was now changed to one full of appreciation and thankfulness for his new life in Christ.

Would to God we could be such witnesses of His grace and light to a dark and lost world.

Now, what else could be said on this passage?


Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Great stuff.

Daniel said...

I am reminded of the rich young ruler running up to Christ and asking of him the same - but Christ didn't say "believe on me and you shall be saved"

what are your thoughts on that Jim? Why did Christ fail to bring this man into the fold?

Jim said...

Daniel, first of all; why do you say Christ failed?

Is this a leading question? :)

The story of the rich young ruler is very interesting...I too wonder why Christ did not make it "easier" for him to accept the gift of salvation.

I think however, Jesus understood the pride of this man's heart and therefore was unable to extend grace before his heart had been humbled.

This man came asking about eternal life, thinking it was something he could do by his efforts. He had kept all the law and when prodded by Jesus, his covetousness was revealed (10th commandment). Instead of admitting his inability to give away everything, he went away sad because the love of money had taken control of his life.

Remember that Jesus came preaching repentance to the Jews, they who had been trying to be justified by the law for over two thousand years. They had failed to see the need for grace.

The account of the jailer demonstrates the difference between one who comes proudly to Jesus and one who comes humbly. God resists the proud but gives grace (His Holy Spirit) to the humble.

The story of the centurion is also similar. Here he was, a devout man who gave alms and prayed faithfully. The Holy Spirit told him in a dream to send for Peter. Peter did not need to preach repentance but rather told him that all who believe in Him (Christ) shall receive the remission of their sins. While he was yet speaking the Spirit fell upon all the gentiles in the room.

Now, if I missed your point altogether please let me know.

God bless,

Antonio said...


It is obvious that Jesus was doing pre-evangelism.

The man was trusting in his riches. Jesus was trying to bring him along to the point of faith in Him. Jesus, being the Prophet Par Excellence, understood the barrier this man had to faith in Him for eternal life.

Mark 10:24-25
24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!

The phillipian jailor was told all that he needed to hear in order to be saved.

No speak of repentance, commitment, obeying, surrender, giving, or anything else.