Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Acts 16:26-30

I don’t think the jailer in Philippi had his Spiritual security in mind when he asked “what must I do to be saved.” After all, when he thought the prisoners had escaped, he had suicide as his first course of action! Escaped prisoners were a reason for punishment for a jailer, sometimes even execution.

On the other hand, Paul did have ministry on his mind. He saved that man’s mortal life and eternal soul by calling out to him that night. There was an opportunity for Paul to have done the exact opposite, letting the man die and taking his chance to leave the jail, defying the magistrates. Instead, Paul remained captive and was vindicated for his wrongful treatment, the jailer lived and he and his household were baptized.

The jailer was not lucky, nor did a miracle save him. A fellow human being showed Christian compassion to him and pulled him back from the edge of death. Through Paul and Silas’ capture and eschewed escape, a that jailer and his household were rescued.

God offers us freedom so that we can do the work of rescuing others while we also escape sin.

Ethan Kirl