16:16 One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling.
16:17 While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.”
16:18 She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.
16:19 But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities.
16:20 When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews
16:21 and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.”
16:22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
16:23 After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely.
16:24 Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
16:25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
16:26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.
16:27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped.
16:28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”
16:29 The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.
16:30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
16:31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
16:32 They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.
16:33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay.
16:34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.
This is a powerful story of God’s power trumping anything that threatens Gods people and the spreading of the Gospel.
2. Ultimate acceptance: Upon seeing the response of Paul and Silas the jailor’s heart is filled with immense encouragement and awe. They were singing hymns of praise after just having experienced a sever beating and being thrown in jail. Their faith did not waver and they still held on tightly to the promise of God. Through that, when God opened up a means of escape they knew that this was more then just being set free from their chains. They saw this as an opportunity to preach the good news to the soldier guarding them, along with his entire household. That soldier and his family experienced true freedom. Letting go of our sin and coming to Christ gives us complete access to the God who loves and cares for us more then anything else in this world.
When I read this passage I am reminded that our character as ambassadors of Christ matters. What about Paul and Silas convinced the jailor that they were men of God and that he needed to repent? It was their character.
This is the character of Jesus. It’s self-sacrifice. As Christians we are an example to the rest of the world. When we behave like Jesus and put others first we show them that they are loved and cared for. There is no better entry point for the gospel than letting them know they are loved.