Updated: Jan 7
Acts 16:25-34 (NLT)
25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.
I am realizing this week that Sunday Easter still had a powerful impact even though it was far from usual. In the text of God's Word above there was nothing usual about where Paul and Silas found themselves...in prison. I figure that they started their year, month, week and day not really thinking that this would be their plight. Still, they realized the presence of the risen Christ and that He wanted to still have an impact on the very place they found themselves. In that space and time they made a conscious decision to pray, sing hymns and songs together. They certainly had a captive audience of other prisoners listening and possibly watching. The text then tells us that "Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!" Their unscripted life became even more un-normal. These two followers of Jesus then found themselves with a jailer who had made the decision to take his own life rather than facing his own supervisors doing that for him. But wait a minute! Look at the compassion of Paul and Silas...“Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”The jailers life was changed forever from the point of asking the most important question he had ever asked...“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” to hearing the reply...“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” . Easy peasy but life changing none the less. Then see how this story ends all together at the jailers home sharing the Word of God, a meal, baptisms and rejoicing "because they all believed in God.".
What can we do this week to do this in our homes? How can we believe in God in the midst of this unscripted life? As we live in this un-normal time, think of ways you can be Paul and Silas where God has you this week. What does that look like for your family? What is your families rendition of "praying and singing hymns to God" when others around might have lost hope? What are ways your family can live your lives with faith in Jesus...believing that He is and ever present God. Are there things you might do out of faith that might make others look at you and wonder how you can think of doing that in the midst of what we are going through?
This week is our third week of looking at things Upside-Down...
This theme speaks of Humility where we are putting others first by giving up what we think we deserve. That is a bit upside down from the way things normally go. Normally we want to put ourselves first. But Jesus showed us a better way. He showed us what real humility looks like. When we remember how Jesus treated people, we can follow His lead. We can turn things upside down and treat others the way we want to be treated.
Again, do not be overwhelmed with doing all that is in here, but know we want to provide enough to build faith in your kids. We are highlighting the web page to do that now. Work again with your children in this week’s lessons as time allows throughout the week. Remember to download and use the ParentCue app to engage daily with your kids of all ages.