Daily Devotions

Paul whipped, jailed, put in stocks — and released!

Acts 16:23-33

‘When they (the magistrates) had laid many stripes upon them (Paul and Silas), they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them…. Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks…. He (after repenting) took them (out)…and washed their stripes…. He…brought them into his house, set meat before them, and rejoiced — believing in God with all his house!’ Acts 16:23-34.

Calvin comments: “When the magistrates gave such strict instructions for Paul and Silas to be kept unharmed, they did so in order that they might make further inquiries about the case. For they had beaten them with rods….

“It is exceedingly beneficial for us to know…the harsh ways in which the witnesses of Christ were treated long ago…. Luke goes on…to record…their courage and endurance…. Although their feet were bound in fetters, he says that they praised God in prayer….

“Neither the abuse which had been inflicted on them; nor the wounds which made their flesh inflamed; nor the stench from the depths of the prison; nor the danger of death which was threatening them — prevented them from giving thanks to God with eager and joyful hearts…. Although the pain of their wounds was sharp; although the prison was irksome; although the danger was grave — since Paul and Silas do not cease praising God, we gather from that how they were constantly encouraged to bear the cross….

“‘The keeper of the prison…(was) roused’…. God…answers the prayers of Paul and Silas in this way, to show that…nothing at all can prevent Him from penetrating not only into prisons but also into tombs to snatch away His Own from death…. Paul…, when he was freed from his chains…, did not stir a foot from the spot….

“This keeper was constrained by fear, to show obedience to God…. He had become hardened in his superstitions, and would therefore have shown high-minded contempt for anything that Paul and Silas would have said — particularly when he had disgracefully thrust them into the place in the prison for closer confinement. Fear now makes him docile and obedient…

“He fell down at their feet…. ‘”Sirs, what must I do (to be saved?” And they said:) “Believe on the Lord Jesus!”‘…

“‘He was baptized, he and all who belonged to his household.’ Luke again commends the godly zeal of the keeper, because he dedicated his whole household to God…; because He suddenly brought a whole family to godly unanimity….

“‘He rejoiced, because he had believed’…. Hr received the Apostles hospitably, and…treated them kindly in his home!”

Paul was whipped, jailed, put in stocks — but then, released and fed by his new brother!