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?” Verses 29-30 (NIV)
I have several times experienced a person desperate to get right with God. Each of those times, they were in the midst of a “desperate moment.” Unfortunately, when the crisis passed so did the sincerity and urgency to get right with God.
In Philippi, Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail after some angry slaveowners brought false charges against them (Acts 16:16-21). Despite such treatment, they took the opportunity to pray and sing to the Lord, and the other prisoners listened to them.
Then a sudden earthquake opened all the cells and loosened all the prisoners’ chains. The jailer thought everyone had escaped – and if they had, he would have been executed. Panicking, he drew his sword to kill himself – but Paul stopped him.
In desperation the jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Always prepared, they took the opportunity to share the good news. Paul and Silas said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” And that night, as Paul and Silas shared “the word of the Lord,” salvation came to that jailer’s household. From what we are told in scripture it seems that the jailer and his family held onto their faith and a miracle happened that night.
Imagine what an incredible turnaround happened in just one night! The prison guard went from a quiet night’s duty, to a hair-raising emergency, to the unswerving security of new life in Christ. No wonder “he and his whole household” were “filled with joy” upon hearing the good news.
Some people grow up hearing the good news and experiencing God’s love in their home and family life. Others come to believe in God through other experiences – and even in the midst of crises, like the jailer. No matter how it happens, faith in Christ is God’s gift. What must we do? Believe by faith!
Jesus, help us to believe in you and enjoy new life forever in your name! Amen.