By Tyson Thorne

September 11, 2014

Escorted large

With the other prisoner’s secured and the jailer a new follower of Jesus, Paul and Silas are welcomed into the guards home where his household puts their faith in the Lord and tends to the apostles wounds (Acts 16.33). At nearly one o’clock in the morning the Spirit of God is working overtime in the life of this family and its servants. Before sunrise everyone is baptized and served a hearty breakfast before returning to the prison.

At sunrise police are sent to the jail to release Paul and Silas and send them on their way. Rather than being overjoyed at their release, however, the apostles hold a standoff. While they had technically broken Roman law, the magistrates were no better when they allowed Paul and Silas, Roman citizens, to be abused and shamed. Taking the opportunity they announced their citizenship and waited to be escorted from the prison by the very officials who had mistreated them the day before. Their request was granted and the judges pleaded with the two to leave the city so that further conflict could be avoided.

While it is important to accept punishment for breaking even unjust laws, the Christian may defend himself and exercise his rights under the law as well. This coincides with the teaching of Jesus who encouraged his disciples to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10.16-.20). In fact, Jesus’ words were spoken in a context that predicted this very kind of persecution and gave advice for how to handle trials and imprisonment. Such persecution is clearly to be expected by every believer.

Paul and Silas returned to Lydia’s home and were encouraged to see so many new believers gathered there. The weaver’s home became the first Christian church in Europe. Even after no sleep, the apostles set out that morning and travelled west, toward Thessalonica.

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