Text: Acts 16:16-40, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, 1 Peter 2:19-21
Locked in prison and bound in chains, Paul and Silas make strange poster boys for freedom. When we conjure up images of freedom, we are more likely to picture an eagle in flight or a child running uninhibited through a field, than to picture two fellas in a shared prison cell. But make no mistake, even in prison, Paul and Silas were free. Their story reminds us that when God’s people live as though they’re free, the shock waves of radical faith radiate out into the world.
If you’re someone who likes to underline (or circle, doodle beside, or watercolor), grab your Bible and pen or paintbrush, and get to work highlighting verse 25:
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
Paul and Silas had been arrested for disturbing the peace, and were then dragged into the marketplace where they were stripped and beaten with rods. Their response? They had church.
There simply wasn’t a dungeon dark enough to snuff out their status as the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). No earthly shackles could compare to the chains of sin Christ died to free them from. The key had been turned on the cages of death and condemnation, and no prison sentence could strip them of that freedom. Though imprisoned, they chose to live out the message of that favorite children’s song, “Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine.” The prisoners in chains all around them couldn’t help but listen in.
I can’t get enough of the jailer’s conversion from this passage. This man who held the keys to an earthly prison exchanged them for the keys to the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 16:19). What a beautiful picture of the gospel!
As the earth shook beneath him and the prison doors flew open, perhaps he saw his own chains for the first time. When God’s people live freely, those in bondage all around us are moved to look at their own chains and repeat the jailer’s question:
“What must I do to be saved?”
Don’t miss this! If we are in Christ, we are free indeed (John 8:36).
Free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
Free from the enslaving weight of sin (Galatians 5:1).
Free from the bondage of corruption (Romans 8:21).
Free from eternal condemnation (Romans 8:1).
Jesus is the great abolitionist. From the cross, He shook the foundations of our prison cells and flung open the doors to our hearts, freeing the bound and enslaved so that we might freely live.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.