Daily RCL Bible Reading Devotional – May 1st, 2016

Scripture Reading(s)

Acts 16:16-34

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.


Lydia.jpgThis is a powerful story of God’s power trumping anything that threatens Gods people and the spreading of the Gospel.

 In this passage we learn of how it is very real that we as Christians, will experience persecution for our Faith. Paul and Silas acts of driving out the evil spirit went against the Roman culture be because it spoke of a name that is higher and has more authority their law; the name of Jesus Christ.
However, what is even more astounding in this passage is how Paul and Silas responded to the persecution. There are two very really responses to the Gospel that are being seen here. The first is total rejection and the second is total acceptance
1. Ultimate rejection: Upon seeing Paul and Silas rebuke the woman who claimed to have the gift of fortune telling and put an end to it, they were filled with rage and anger. They did not like hearing and seeing now the name of Jesus Christ had authority over her sin and their sin. As a result, they stripped and beat them. There are those who hear the message of the gospel and go to great lengths to reject it. They see and hear the truth and claim it as false. The message of the Gospel is meant to reveal the ugly nature inside all of us known as sin. However, in addition to that, when we see our sin and how much we are in need of a Savior, our hearts experience a hope unlike any other. Which is the love of Christ completely erasing our sin and giving us a fresh new start.

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.

Justin-Holmes1.jpgWhen 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.

After seeing that they did not escape even though the jail was now opened, the jailor was convinced that they were not only honest men but also that they cared about him. Why did they stay in the cells and convince the rest of the prisoners to do the same? It was to save the life of the jailor. The jailor would have most certainly been punished or put to death for failing to keep all the prisoners. Paul and Silas knew this so they protected the jailor at their own expense.

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.

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