“And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes—and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”
When Christ changes the heart, he also changes the mind and the will.
What was it that brought the Philippian jailer to the place of faith and repentance? Was it the earthquake? Was it the fear of certain death if any of the prisoners escaped? Was it Paul and Silas’ “praying and singing songs at midnight” (v.25) in spite of their having “had their clothes ripped off and been beaten with many stripes” (vv.22-23)?
Or, was it “all of the above?”
Only the Lord knows.
But one thing is certain: He realized his need of a Savior. And, he knew his Roman, mythological gods weren’t doing anything for him.
He wanted some of what Paul and Silas had: Calmness in crises. . .bedrock conviction. . . Lionhearted courage.
That’s why he cried “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (v.30).
And, dear Pilgrim, there are literally thousands around us every day who are in some type of crisis.
Family problems. Financial problems. Personal problems. Health issues. Broken relationships. Guilt from the past. Fear of the future. Living like a drowning man at sea, wishing someone would notice and throw them a life-preserver or anything that floats.
Thankfully, we have something to offer them.
In fact, that “something” is Someone. And, His Name is Jesus. Hallelujah!
What a wonderful Transaction acted that night in that dirty, dark, dank Philippian dungeon. The “Light of the world, in Whom there is no darkness whatsoever” (Jn. 8:12; 9:5; I Jn. 1:5) invaded that cell and “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6)—or is that “right-side up”—for that poor jailer and his family. Glory!!
And, he didn’t waste any time showing his gratitude for God’s Grace. He “took them the same hour, tenderly washed those bloody stripes on their back and was immediately baptized.” No time to waste. No messing around. No hesitation, reservation or procrastination.
Such is always the case when there’s been true conversion.
And, we shouldn’t be surprised that his whole household followed suit. This wasn’t just because of the Asian/European custom of families doing things together. A thousand times no! They heard his story and “the Word of the Lord” themselves (v.32). They saw the difference in the jailer’s life. They saw his loving care of the prisoners, whom he’d previously hated and detested. And, they believed. No wonder they sat down at the table together in fellowship “and rejoiced.” True salvation always brings visible evidence. What “fruits of salvation” (Mt. 3:8; Lk. 8:15) are evident in your life?
August 20, 2011