We continue today with more power of praise. Praise turns darkness to light. Praise switches the role of being a victim to that of a victor! Praise places believers of Jesus to the head position and not the tail. Why does God honor them? Because they honor God. God builds His throne on our praises.
The time was darkest, at midnight. The two faithful disciples obeyed the Holy Spirit, went to evangelize this city and were falsely accused, thrown into prison with cruelty and treated as the worst criminals by the authority. Could the two be wrong in hearing God? Anyone would wonder. What a terrible fate. someone would remark. But these two were sure of their calling and their destiny. They did something that was just the opposite of despair. They sang powerful and hopeful praises to God at midnight, and miracles happened! As they sang praises and worshipped God, supernatural events took place: great earthquake, prison shaken, doors opened, chains unfastened, prisoners and jailor converted to Christ, jailor’s family also saved and converted. None of the prisoners ran away after conversion. Paul and Silas too were enjoying the presence of God so much they did not take the opportunity to run away. Instead, Paul (the former prisoner) took charge in an authoritative way, continued to bring the jailor and his family to Christ. The next day the table turned as the local officials had to apologize to them, and escorted them out of prison as very important honorary guests. Paul and Silas did not hear God wrongly. They were right to respond to their calling and they succeeded in their mission to evangelize the people who were crying out for help in a vision. THEY WERE FEARLESS. WHY? BECAUSE THEY KNEW GOD THROUGH THEIR REGULAR PRAISES TO GOD.
Let us read what happened on that fateful midnight.
ACTS 16:6-10; 22-40 AMP
PAUL SAW A VISION
6 Now they passed through the territory of Phrygia and Galatia, after being forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in [the west coast province of] Asia [Minor]; 7 and after they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them; 8 so passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 Then a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man from [the Roman province of] [a]Macedonia was standing and pleading with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 And when he had seen the vision, [b]we (including Luke) tried to go on into Macedonia at once, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
PAUL AND SILAS IMPRISONED
16:22 The crowd also joined in the attack against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and ordered that Paul and Silas be beaten with rods. 23 After striking them many times [with the rods], they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely. 24 He, having received such a [strict] command, threw them into the inner prison (dungeon) and fastened their feet in the stocks [in an agonizing position].
MIDNIGHT PRAISES AND THE POWER OF PRAISES: MIRACLES!
25 But about midnight when Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 suddenly there was a great earthquake, so [powerful] that the very foundations of the prison were shaken and at once all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer, shaken out of sleep, saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, thinking that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, saying, “Do not hurt yourself, we are all here!” 29 Then the jailer called for torches and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out [of the inner prison], he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
SALVATION TO ALL WHO BELIEVE
31 And they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus [as your personal Savior and entrust yourself to Him] and you will be saved, you and your household [if they also believe].” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord [concerning eternal salvation through faith in Christ] to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their bloody wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34 Then he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, since he had believed in God with his entire family [accepting with joy what had been made known to them about the Christ].
HONOR RESTORED TO PAUL AND SILAS
35 Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their officers, saying, “Release those men.” 36 And the jailer repeated the words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent word to release you; so come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without a trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now they are sending us out secretly? No! Let them come here themselves and bring us out!” 38 The officers reported this message to the chief magistrates, and [g]when they heard that the prisoners were Romans, they were frightened; 39 so they came [to the prison] and appealed to them [with apologies], and when they brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city. 40 So they left the prison and went to Lydia’s house; and when they had seen the brothers and sisters, they encouraged and comforted them, and left.
Acts 16:9 Northern Greece.
Acts 16:10 At this point Luke (the writer) apparently joined the journey and includes himself in the narrative, speaking in the first person.
Acts 16:13 Apparently there were not enough Jews living in Philippi to establish a synagogue.
Acts 16:14 The first recorded believer in Europe.
Acts 16:14 This was an important and valuable fabric, having great demand, being used on the official toga in Rome and its colonies.
Acts 16:16 Lit a python spirit. In Greek mythology, Python the earth-dragon (serpent goddess), was associated with the oracle at Delphi.
Acts 16:38 Paul was a Roman citizen because he was born in Tarsus (22:28), capitol of Cilicia and a city that the emperor Augustus had pronounced “free” because of its support of Rome. Nothing is known of Silas’ family background, but if his name is short for “Silvanus,” it is a Roman name (taken from the god of the forest) and it could be that Silas was also born a Roman citizen. Details on Roman citizenship at that time are sketchy at best, but it is clear from Acts that punishing a citizen without a trial and guilty verdict was illegal, probably involving severe penalties for the magistrates in charge. Also, a Roman citizen charged with a crime had the right to go to Rome and be tried in the emperor’s court (25:9-12).