The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:29-30
Sometimes it takes shocking events to bring a person to the point of asking the most important question ever. Not all the time and not everyone, but sometimes. The earthquake and the open prison doors where the series of events that drew the jailer’s sword. The penalty for ‘misplacing’ a prisoner was death, so he was going to expedite that and fall on his own sword. Imagine the emotions required to make that decision. Another decision would be made that night instead.
Paul stopped the suicide by letting the jailer know that, in spite of the earthquake that opened prison doors, they were all still there. None had left. There was no need to pay that price by his own sword.
Certainly the jailer, too, along with the other prisoners, had heard Paul and Silas praying and singing songs of praise to God that night. He had listened and wondered since that certainly would not have been the normal activity of his prisoners.
With the light and the realization that all the prisoners were there, the abrupt question was asked: ‘What must I do to be saved?’
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Acts 16:31
The jailer hears the gospel of Jesus Christ that early morning. He takes Paul and Silas to his own home and cleans their wounds. While there his entire household hears the good news and they are baptized into Christ. Salvation has come to them.
The Text says that the jailer was ‘filled with joy because he had come to believe in God.’ This is the expected response since the gospel is good news! It is a blessing to be forgiven and to given a hope for the future. We should not short change the power of the gospel in this way. Yes, there are strong implications with accepting the Lordship of Jesus that are challenging; sin is a strong force in a person’s life. But the blessing and joy of salvation outweighs all of that.
And when I’m not experiencing the joy of my salvation, it is time to remember what Jesus has done for me and the bright future I have in Him!
Thank you, Lord, for my salvation. You are God and I live for You. I pray for unexplainable amounts of joy in my life, in my family’s life and in the life of my church – directly from Your hand. May people experience us singing and praying to You in the most unlikely times, all due to the ‘joy of the Lord’ in us. You are awesome! Thank You for this new life.