Singing In Jail
Paul and Silas were preachers, not too long after Jesus had been resurrected and gone back to heaven. (He went to prepare a place for us!) Paul was an apostle, and Silas is called a faithful brother.
Paul had gotten saved in a most unusual way. God can get your attention if He needs to. His name was Saul, and he was a very mean hater of Christians. He killed them every chance he got. Now, I've learned that if someone hates Christians, it's not really about people at all for them. It's about Jesus. They hate Him!
So, Saul hated Jesus. And you know I don't use that word lightly. One day he was traveling from Jerusalem to Damascus on a mission to 'get' more Christians (he had been "breathing out threatenings"!), when "suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." Acts 9:3-5.
It's interesting to me that he called Jesus 'Lord' while he was asking Him who He was. He already knew.
Well, Jesus in that bright light blinded Saul (who was now going to be called Paul) for three days and he got saved. Then, he didn't hate Christians anymore. Because now he loved the Lord. Funny how that works. And see, God can and will forgive anyone. And then, most amazingly of all, God used him!
So, now we are back in Acts 16 where we started. Paul and Silas had been preaching and doing what God told them to do when they got arrested. Sometimes people don't like hearing about Jesus. I guess Paul understood that better than Silas. He had been one of them. And when the rulers had "laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely." (verse 23) They were badly beaten and thrown in jail.
Two thousand years ago, jail was not like it is today. Use your imagination a little. It was a horrible place! They were thrust into the inner jail, and their feet were held fast in stocks. And they had been attacked. They were wounded and bleeding.
But then, an incredible thing occurred! "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them." (verse 25) And then all kinds of wonderful things happened and people got saved. Finish the chapter for yourself.
How in the world were Paul and Silas able to sing? They were singing praises to God! Would you be? I'm not so sure about myself, either. But they were! Why were they able to sing? Why did they want to sing?
Here it is. A lesson that I've learned and learned well. The joy of Christ is ALWAYS bigger than your circumstances! Woohoo! I want to shout it! The joy that Jesus gives is ALWAYS greater than your circumstances!
Joy. Inner peace. It comes from knowing Christ. Really knowing Him. It comes from the comfort that the Holy Spirit gives. It's different from being happy. Paul and Silas were not happy. Don't be fooled. But they had joy! J-O-Y, down in their hearts; deep, deep down in their hearts!
One more thing that I think is very cool. Look back at verse 25. They "sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them." The jailor, too. People got saved because they were watching and listening. They always are. Watch your testimony!
If you don't know the Lord like Paul and Silas did, today you should do something about it. It's the most important thing you will do in your entire life. Don't wait for Jesus to come to you in a bright light, because that is not likely to happen. That was just for Paul. But God sent you here to read this blog post. He must be trying to get your attention, as well. Go to the top of this page, hit the 'home' button on the right, and scroll to the bottom of that page. You will see a post entitled 'Redeemed'. It will tell you how to get saved. Do it today! :)