Morrisons Cove Herald - Putting cows on the front page since 1885.

By Pastor Earl Herr
Correspondent 

Thought for the Week

Three Stories

 

Illustration by John McConahy

Paul is in Philippi. Three people tell stories about how they came to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. We have heard just a tad about Lydia. She would have been of the upper echelon of society. No doubt she was wealthy, had a large enough home to entertain multiple visitors and had a staff likely as well as her family. We do not know much about her, but we do know she was a worshipper of the true God. When she understood Who Jesus Christ was, she became a part of the Church. She had a generous heart and the gift of hospitality.

We also meet a slave girl. We know she was possessed of a demon. Because of this she was able to fortune tell. This made her capable of earning good money for her owners/masters. It did nothing for her own status but much for them. For whatever reason, she followed Paul around loudly proclaiming he was able to tell people the way to salvation.

Paul grew vexed by her continuing to draw attention to him. What she said was true. Why she said it I do not know. Paul put a stop to it by casting out her demon. This, of course cost her ability to fortune tell and therefore she was no longer of value to her owners/masters. They no longer cared what happened to her, but they were incensed with Paul.

I do care what happened to her but Scripture does not tell us if she received Christ as Savior, if she joined the church, who took care of her, or anything else about her welfare. We know the masters/owners of the girl hauled Paul before the town magisterial court. They took immediate action, had Paul and Silas stripped of their clothing and beaten with rods. Then they were put in jail, their hands, feet and likely their necks fastened in stocks. The jailer was charged with keeping them securely. This charge was most serious. If the jailer allowed them to escape, he likely would have paid with his life. His is the third story. In the midst of their misery, with backs likely still bleeding, around midnight Paul and Silas began singing hymns. Other prisoners listened, and I think likely enjoyed the singing.

Suddenly there was an earthquake. Prison doors flew open, chains were loosed. The jailer, likely awakened from a sound sleep, seeing the doors opened assumed the prisoners had all fled. He drew a sword to commit suicide. But Paul called with a loud voice and told him not to harm himself because all prisoners were present and accounted for. The jailer asked what he needed to do to be saved. Certainly this salvation was not from the penalty losing prisoners, they were here.

So, it must have had a deeper meaning. We dare to suppose the jailer knew of the message Paul and Silas preached, sang and believed, so he was asking about salvation leading to eternal life. Paul told him to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and he would be saved," as would anyone else of his family or household. The jailer believed, was baptized, changed his attitude toward the prisoner, caring for their needs.

 

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