The Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Acts 16:25-34

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

The conversion of the Philippian jailer is one of the more touching stories in Acts and bears similarities with other events in the book.  First, they are singing hymns after being beaten for preaching the gospel, just as the apostles were beaten before the Sanhedrin and then left “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name” (5:41); second, while singing there was an earthquake that shook the prison, just as happened after the believers lifted their voices in prayer upon being threatened that they no longer preach in the name of Jesus (4:31).  But what makes this account so different is what happened between Paul and the jailer.

Upon awakening and seeing the prison doors open after the earthquake, the jailer was about to kill himself.  It was not uncommon for guards to be put to death if prisoners escaped, an incentive to be vigilant to say the least.  No doubt many guards preferred suicide to what awaited them if they failed to keep their quarry.  Paul and Silas could certainly have waltzed out of the prison but didn’t, the life of the jailer (perhaps up until that time, their tormentor) being more precious to them than their freedom.  Instead Paul cried out, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”  This was all it took; the jailer knew that he was in the presence of a different kind of men.  He came trembling before them and asked the most important question a person will ever ask, the question that rings down through the corridors of eternity: “What must I do to be saved?”  And the answer returns ringing through those same corridors: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

And so the unnamed jailer is saved and baptized along with his household whom he had gathered together to hear Paul.  And as is often the case in the New Testament upon receiving saving grace, we see that the one saved ministers to the one who ministered the gospel to him (Mark 1:31), so we see here the jailer ministering to the apostles by washing their wounds.  So he who was washed by the wounds of Christ washed the wounds of those who ministered those saving wounds to him.

What must I do to be saved?  There is no greater question which one will ask oneself; there is no greater question one will ever ask of another.  And how we answer this question is the very hinge upon which eternity turns: Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.  Jailer, prostitute, slaver, murderer, good guy – the answer is always the same, and it always will be.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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