In Lockdown With Paul And Silas


After driving out an evil spirit from within a young slave girl, Paul and Silas find themselves in prison for doing good. But notice what they are doing, they are rejoicing.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.’ Acts 16:25

Luke tells us that at midnight, while the other prisoners listened to Paul and Silas singing and praying, a great earthquake shook open all the prison doors and released all those in chains.

‘Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.’ Acts 16:26-27

Believing his prisoners had escaped, the Jailor prepared to kill himself rather than face the torturous Roman judgment. But Paul stopped him by crying out that they were all there and he shouldn’t harm himself.

‘But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.’ Acts 16:28-29

Do you see the difference Jesus makes?

Jesus was the difference between choosing to live or choosing to die for the jailer.

‘The jailor called for lights, leapt into the prison in trembling fear, fell before Paul and Silas, brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ ‘He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30

This question comes up time and time again from those who want to be saved.

It was the same in the beginning when Peter preached to the Jewish brethren on Pentecost.

“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37

It was the same on the Damascus road for the apostle Paul.

“What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.” Acts 22:10

We don’t come to God and tell Him what we think we should do to be saved. We don’t go to the preacher and ask his opinion about what they think we should do to be saved, No, we ask God what He wants us to do to be saved.

The jailor was told to,

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.” Acts 16:31

Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to him so that faith could be produced.

‘Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and all the others in his house.’ Acts 16:32

Remember what Romans 10:17 teaches.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17

And so at the same hour of the night, he washed their stripes, which is clear evidence of repentance.

‘At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God-he and his whole family”. Acts 16:33-34

Immediately afterwards, he and all the members of his household were baptized just like Peter’s audience did and just like the apostle, Paul himself did.

And so Luke tells us it was then, and only then, ‘he was filled with joy because he and his family believed in God.’

The jailor and his household weren’t saved just because they believed. They had to do something with that belief, they needed to express that belief in action.

And they did that when Paul and Silas baptized them into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.

‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ Acts 2:38

Notice the rejoicing didn’t begin until after they had been baptised into Christ. Why? Because that was the point in time when their sins were washed away and they received the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself.

They rejoiced because it was at that point in time they entered into a new relationship with Christ Himself.

‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ Matthew 28:19-20

That’s what Paul and Silas did with the jailer, they made a disciple out of the jailer by teaching him the good news concerning Jesus, they baptised him and his household and taught him about the commandments of Christ.

Paul and Silas rejoiced despite being in prison.

The jailer and his family rejoiced when they became Christians.

And I’m wondering if being in lockdown has taken your joy in Christ away.

If your joy is in your family, that joy can be gone in a moment.

If your joy is in your job, you can lose that job in a moment.

If your joy is in your bank account, you can lose that money in no time.

We can all easily lose our joy if our joy is in the wrong place. Paul says we should rejoice in the Lord always.

‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!’ Philippians 4:4

Paul and Silas could rejoice because their joy was in the Lord. The jailer and his family could rejoice because their joy is now in Christ.

The question is, where or what is your joy grounded in?

Stay blessed, stay focused, and stay in Christ.