Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Jailer

Can you imagine going to work one day, feeling mighty dutiful. You make sure the desk is in order. You handle the accounts. You make the calls. You make the arrests. You nurse the wounds. You mop the floors. You grill the chicken. You.....what do you do? What is your job title? Okay, so whatever that is.... you do it, feeling completely oblivious to anything else that is not work-related. You have a job to do, and you're focused on that. Yet, deep inside you know there is a void that you haven't been able to fill. So you submerge yourself in work, as to completely deny the great need inside of you. And the reality is that not only are you in need, but so is your family. And as much as you'd like to save yourself and your family, you know that you are unable. And so you go to work one day, as you do every day. Only difference being that on this day, your life will be changed forever. Yet, you are unaware. (Don't you just love days like these?) That is how I visualize the story of the jailer found in the book of Acts 16:22-34.

The jailer made sure to do his job well.  He knew that it was his duty to jail Paul and Silas for performing miracles and preaching "Jesus", and he was to make sure that they could not move.  Yet, when he woke up to the amazement that Paul and Silas were loose, he was so highly disappointed and in despair that he was willing to take his own life.  He figured he would lose his life anyway, when his superiors found out.  

It is obvious that this jailer did not know the power of God.  It is obvious that he didn't realize that Paul and Silas were filled with the spirit of God.  And it wasn't until Paul shouted to him, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!" that he began to see God's power at work.  He fell before Paul and Silas, and inquired, "what must I do to be saved?"  And they lead him to salvation in Christ that very night.  

I find it so amazing that God would work this way to save a lost  soul.  The jailer was lost and without hope, and God was aware.  So much so, that He used the suffering of two of His most devoted followers, Paul and Silas, to bring this lost soul to salvation.   And not only was he  saved, but his family, as well.  It says that, "then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  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."

What a night!  What a full day/night of work.   This man's life was changed unexpectedly.  Or so it seems, but God knew.  God knew that this man needed a savior, and He came to him... even if it was at a jail cell.    

Be encouraged, my friends.  God is still aware of lost souls.  And He can still work within the most absurd circumstances.  He is at work in hospitals rooms, psych wards, jail cells, train stations, supermarkets, restaurants, beauty salons, schools, trucks, and so on.

If you are a lost soul, acknowledge His power today.
If you are like Paul and Silas, claiming to be devoted to Him, be prepared to sing His praises, claim His power, and share the good news of salvation with others at any time.

Every day is an opportunity for salvation for the lost.

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