Those who believe in God are filled with joy

Acts 16:34, 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

The background to this verse is that there was female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. With this spirit she earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.Acts 16:17, 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” This angered Paul and when he met the slave he asked the spirit to leave her in the name of Jesus. The spirit left her. The owners got enraged because their earning had stopped, and they got Paul and Silas arrested, stripped, beaten and put into jail.Acts 16:19-24, 19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

At midnight, Paul and Silas sang Hymns to the Lord. We can understand the depth and strength of Paul’s faith with this verse, Acts 20: 24, 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Even in the jail he was not disheartened and sang hymns to the Lord, and they got the answer from Heaven. There was a violent earthquake which shook the foundations of the prison. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Under such circumstances, prisoners usually flee from the prison. But here Paul and Silas did not escape from the prison and neither did they encourage anyone else to do so. The jailer woke up and thought that everyone must have escaped. He took out his sword to end his life out of fear of shame. Understanding this Paul called out to him and said we are both here, do not harm yourself.The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He brought them both out and asked what must I do to be saved?? Acts 16: 31 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” He took them both home and looked after them. That night, they shared the word of God with the jailer and his family. Acts 16:34,… he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

Paul and Silas did not escape from the jail and instead decide to wait for the Lord’s will. As a result the jailer and the family were saved. Let us pause and think: Paul and Silas escaped with the other prisoners, what would have happened then? The jailer would have committed suicide. The wife would have become a widow and the children would have become fatherless. The house of the jailer from being a saved household would have become a mourning household. In place of the joy they felt right now there would have been heart rendering cries and mourning. This is today’s problem. SELF, SELF, SELF. How many homes get destroyed because they did not meet/believe God?? We do not have Paul and Silas today to guide us. Many people today stand petrified and lost like a child lost from his/her parents in a big amusement park/fair. They follow the wrong path/path to destruction because there is no one to guide them. Every believer is responsible for this. We do not share our satisfaction/contentment, joys, hopes and beliefs with others.

The contentment/transformation we get after repentance is like a person who finds the joy on bathing with scented soap after falling into a muddy pit. In the early centuries this experience was the same. Till the time the disciples were filled with Holy Spirit and strengthened by it, they did not preach the word of God. In today’s time, the Good News of God is the only medicine that can help the world. May each child of God be filled with Holy Spirit and strengthen them, and the peace of mind they feel and experience be shared through the word of God to the world. We may pray for this to our Heavenly Father.

AMEN.

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