If there is one theme in this chapter, it’s being set free.
Lydia and her household were set free from from their sin, and perhaps the Jewish requirements of the law as well.
The girl was set free from the demon possessing her.
The jailor was set free from his sins, and perhaps so were many of the other prisoners.
And of course, Paul and Silas were set free from their chains.
All of this, in fact, is summed up in their prison experience. As they were sitting there, probably in great pain because of the beating they had taken, they nevertheless started singing and praising God. At first, all the other prisoners must have thought they were nuts. But somehow they sensed a reality to what they were hearing. Perhaps they even sensed God’s presence in the prison and started asking Paul and Silas questions.
The jailer, meanwhile, probably just went to bed thinking they were all crazy. But then, an earthquake hit, and when it did,
All the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. (45)
Those words strike me. Because when we let God work in our lives, that’s exactly what happens. Prison doors fly open, and everyone’s chains come loose. Not only in our own lives, but in the lives of those we touch.
God’s love touched the prisoners in the jail cells to the point that none of them tried to escape when Paul asked them to stay. And it touched the jailer to the point that he cried out,
Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (30)
And because of that love and compassion that flowed out of Paul, the jailer and his family were set free from the chains of Satan that had bound them all their lives, and they were all filled with great joy.
God wants to set those around you free. That’s why Jesus came 2000 years ago. So let us spread the love of God to those around us, especially this Christmas. And let us share the message of the gospel that Paul did.
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household. (31)
And people will be set free.