“At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God . . . and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison was shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed” (Acts 16:25-26). The jailer, seeing what had happened, fell down before Paul and Silas, saying “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).
Those city officials and religious leaders went to bed thinking, “We did it! That’s the last we’ll hear of those vagabond troublemakers. We really shut them up!” But what a commotion the next day! I can imagine soldiers knocking on the doors of the mayor, city council members, and the religious leaders, telling them, “Quick! Get down to city hall. We’ve got a big problem!” In a state of shock, the officials probably responded, “What? An earthquake? The prison doors opened and the prisoners’ chains all fell off and they didn’t even try to escape? The jailer joined their faith?”
The city leaders were really afraid because it was a crime to beat Roman citizens (Paul and Silas were both Romans). “What do you mean they won’t budge from our jail? They demand what? For us to come down and apologize and escort them out of jail?”
“And they came and [tried to appease] them, and brought them out, and [(begged] them to depart out of the city” (Acts 16:39).
I love it! Here they were, not flaunting their spiritual authority, but merely acting as ambassadors of King Jesus. As they had witnessed Christ’s power being mocked, Paul and Silas now wanted that little prayer group to see how God manifests His power to those who stand up against the forces of hell. They went directly to the house of Lydia—and what a meeting that must have been! I would think Paul told that house group, “See, the devil can rage, the powers that be may threaten, but God has all the power! God will stand by you if you take a stand!”
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon