“Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed” (Acts 16:26–28).

It’s said the apostles were men who “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). You could find no better example than Paul and Silas in the city of Philippi. They came to town, their first stop in what today is considered Europe, and brought the gospel to a group of women, of which Lydia was the most prominent.

Then, in Jesus’ name, they cast a demon out of a young woman who had worked the local fortune-telling crowd. Freed from Satan’s oppression, the young woman shouted God’s praises. Her former employers, seeing their business crumble before their eyes, were less than thrilled. Seizing Paul and Silas, they had the two Christ-followers beaten and cast into jail, perhaps as much a warning to others as a punishment for the men.

The late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, once said that however dark it was, the sun was shining somewhere. At night, it was daylight on the other side of the world, he said. When it’s cloudy, the sun is above the clouds, he asserted. For Paul and Silas, sunlight broke through in the middle of the night while they sang hymns of praise to God despite being in a dank jail cell. The earth shook, the jail doors swung open … and the groggy jailer feared for his life. Losing one’s prisoners meant an automatic death sentence, and the jailer was about to expedite matters.

“Do yourself no harm, for we are all here” (Acts 16:28) was Paul’s cry, and the jailer couldn’t have heard words that were more welcome! Except, perhaps, for Paul’s response when he gushed, “What must I do to be saved?” The reply, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” set the course of the jailer’s future, and that of his family.

We read no more of the jailer after these momentous events, but surely, he was kinder to his charges, perhaps offering the encouragement Paul had given him that tumultuous night. Conversion changes people—for the better!

Lord, let me remember the change You brought to my life, and let me express that goodness in everything I do.

For Further Study: Acts 16:25–40; 1 Chronicles 16:8; Psalm 103

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