Thursday, May 17, 2012

Achtung!

One of the daily readings this week was from Acts 16: the story of Paul & Silas in prison. After the earthquake in the middle of the night, the jailer thought all was lost & prepared to run himself through. Paul called out, stopped him short & assured him all the prisoners were accounted for. The jailer must have been relieved. It was his job to guard the prisoners at all costs. Too fail merited the pain of punishment or death, whether by his own hand or those of his superiors.

Realizing he had been saved from certain doom physically, he asked Paul & Silas how he could be saved spiritually. They told him to believe on the Lord Jesus & proceeded to share the scriptures with him. When he heard his household could be saved as well, the jailer actually took Paul & Silas into his home, cleaned them up & gathered his entire family. Maybe they were all awake after the earthquake anyway. Maybe a few had drifted back to sleep. Either way, they were awake now... daddy was home... and he had company. Who were these other guys with him? What was going on? They were a captive audience. After hearing the Word in the middle of the night, we find out that their motley crew traipsed down to the water in the darkness... perhaps under moonlight, perhaps by torchlight, to be baptised as an entire household. All because of an earthquake & a father's love....

I think the thing that struck me about this passage was the fact that the jailer took Paul & Silas home at such a late hour. He had already been spared a judgement of death once- but here he goes risking life & limb again so his family can hear the good news of Christ. Why not wait til morning? Perhaps he didn't know what would happen to Paul & Silas. Maybe he thought this was his family's only chance to hear the Gospel & the cover of darkness spelled opportunity. I remember the adrenaline rush that comes with experiencing a tremor in the middle of the night. Such a thing makes one question the perceived stability of the world around them. The veil between heaven & earth feels that much thinner in the hours following. It seems the jailer's heart & soul had been shaken to the core, much like the walls of the prison had been. All that mattered now was the welfare of his family. What does God have to do to get our attention & how will we respond?

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