“But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, ‘These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.’ The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.’ And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.” Acts 16:19-34
In the beginning of a relationship there are many new things to learn and experience. Since I work at Charleston Southern University, I regularly see new students learning the way to their classes, their professors and on occasion best places to study… like the beach.
I remember going on dates with my wife at first before we were “official.” We spent so much time learning about each other’s family, our faith and what we wanted out of life.
Little did I know where God would take us, and the plans that He had. All I knew was there was an amazing woman that I wanted to spend my life with, and I was thankful that He was letting me be with her.
Our relationship with Christ is like this as well. This side of heaven no one knows the Lord like we will (1 Cor 13:12). When we first come to Christ there is an understanding at the beginning of the relationship: we are sinners, and Christ is our great Savior. The Christian places their faith in the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and is adopted into the kingdom of God.
As believers progress in their relationship with Christ, more is learned about what it means to follow Christ and discern His guidance in our lives.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are doing just that. They are ministering in Philippi and have rescued a demon possessed woman from her bondage. Because of this act, Paul and Silas have landed in prison.
While we know from the beginning that Paul was going to suffer for the gospel (Acts 9:16), we have no mention of Silas’ conversion or his understanding of how the Lord would use him.
In that way, Silas is like many believers who initially were unsure of what following the Lord would look like with their lives. But Scripture is clear when a person comes to faith in Christ, they should understand the cost of discipleship.
Luke 14:27-33 says,
“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish…So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot by my disciple.”
The Christian must be ready to be used in whatever way the Lord wills, and it is in that submission to His will that He finds great joy in the Lord.
So do you really want to follow Christ knowing what it could entail?
It’s amazing to see what God does and allows to happen to His people for the salvation of others.
The passage says that Paul and Silas were seized, dragged, attacked, stripped, beaten with many blows and placed in the inner cell of the prison in stocks.
We know that the Lord even quaked the earth, and the result of all of this was the salvation of the jailer and his household.
Those that know God and the joy of Christ are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the gospel. Being used in whatever capacity by the Lord to bring others into the kingdom can be a hard life, but it is a glorious one.