Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
I love how the heart of God comes through in this story about Paul & Silas’ release from prison. His heart is to deliver us from everything and anything that binds us. I love the picture of Jesus releasing them out of their imprisonment, but also using their freedom to bring freedom to the jailer.
Jesus releases us, so that through us, He can release others!
I think it’s the jailer’s question that really hits home for me: “what must I do to be saved?” It’s like people all across the gospels were asking that question, but in their own way. For example, Nicodemus wanted to know how to be reborn, or the rich young ruler wants to know how to inherit eternal life (because he thinks he’s already inherited all there is for this life).
And this jailer is so desperate for salvation—this seems to be such a real cry of the human heart, to be saved. The jailer had actually seen “salvation” in the form of the earthquake and then his own life being spared, so he knows what he’s asking for when he asks for salvation. Therefore “what must i do to be saved?” has a whole new meaning for him!