“Jailbreak,” a word associated with freedom for the captive prisoner . . . and death for his captor — at least, that’s the way things were in the days of Paul and Silas. You can imagine why the Philippian jailer made no small stir about the earthquake and open cell doors at his prison compound. Under the circumstances, it would have been more honorable for him to take his own life than to face execution for allowing the inmates under his watch to escape. As the guard drew his sword and prepared to thrust himself through, he heard a loud voice which gave him pause. . . .
It was the Apostle Paul. With urgent-but-clear words, he warned the jailer not to take his life and assured him no one had escaped. What a relief that must have been. The enthusiastic prison warden quickly led Paul and Silas from the jail to his home, where he pleaded with them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They declared, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
The prison warden cheerfully put his trust in Jesus Christ, along with his entire family. By their response to unjust persecution, Paul and Silas had persuaded these people to embrace the gospel.
Your response to unjust treatment is very telling. It shows the world what you believe to be true of God. Do you really believe God is faithful, righteous, loving, merciful, and good all the time? Do you really believe He has the final word on everything that happens in your life? The crucible of adversity will either prove or disprove it. When the hot spotlight of persecution bears down upon you, the world will see the makeup of your heart. Would the image which has been brought to light persuade them to embrace the gospel? Daily work and pray to this end.
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.