Tuesday, June 13 – Acts 16:26-28

Jun 12, 2023

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 chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul called out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”

 

It’s hard to imagine this scene. As powerful as it must have been to hear the beaten, stripped, and imprisoned Paul and Silas singing hymns of praise to God at midnight, what happened next was nothing short of miraculous. Everyone’s chains fell off—even the prisoners who were there because they had actually committed crimes.

 

Ray Ortlund says, “God has created a reality where we praise our way to a better future.”[1] This is true on a far broader scale than we might imagine. When we pray and praise God, it impacts not only our futures but others’ futures too. We’ll see as we continue reading in the next days that the better future in Acts 16 was not simply a change in Paul and Silas’s circumstance—it was a change in the eternal condition of an entire household of people and likely, by effect, innumerable others.

 

Paul prayed and sang because he had fixed his eyes on a bigger picture than his circumstance. And this is the same reason he stayed when his chains fell off too. In His sovereignty and love, God would use physical deliverance to bring about a far greater spiritual deliverance.

 

  • None of the prisoners tried to escape when their chains broke free. What does this tell us about Paul’s and Silas’s ministry efforts and their impact on the lives of the prisoners?
  • What is the main takeaway for you from Paul and Silas’s example in Acts 16?
  • Thank God for the examples of Paul, Silas, and others who show us how to remain faithful to God even during suffering.

[1] Ray Ortlund, Psalms: Real Help for Real Life (Brentwood, TN: Lifeway Press, 2023), 114.

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