A Visit to Philippi

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
There was a day when the Apostle Paul and his fellow-traveler Silas visited Philippi. They heard about a prayer meeting down by the riverside, and you may be sure that’s where they went. There were no cushions or comfortable chairs, just dirt and pebbles on the ground to kneel on for people who really wanted to pray to the God of heaven. A Christian lady by the name of Lydia was also there.
Paul knew a lot more about Scripture than the people of Philippi did, but this was not for showing off but for sharing. God opened Lydia’s heart to invite Paul and Silas to come and stay at her house, even though she knew that Paul was not a popular person in town.
Paul and Silas went out the next day, and behind them followed a young slave girl who was very good at telling fortunes. She was so good that she made lots of money for her masters. She followed Paul and Silas, shouting, These men are servants of the most high God. They show us the way of salva­tion! For many days Paul listened to the slave girl re­peating this, but he soon saw that it came straight from the devil. No, he would not have the devil’s help in the message from God! He turned and cast out the slave girl’s evil spirit by the power of God that is stronger than Satan.
It was wonderful relief for the poor girl! The power of Satan was broken in her life, but her masters also got no more money since she no longer had the evil spirit that could tell fortunes. Her masters were fu­rious, and they knew how to stir up trouble for Paul and Silas. They dragged the two men to the marketplace and called the town’s officials to punish these intruders who they said were teaching unlawful things against the Romans.
Were they really teaching unlawful things? No. But we don’t read that Paul and Silas said a word in their own defense.
The officials gave orders to beat their bare backs, and this was not a little beating. Paul knew the beating was not fair, and he also knew that if he said, I’m a Roman, they would stop their beating right away. But still Paul didn’t say anything. God was their defender, and they left the mat­ter with Him.
After the beating, the jailer chose a horrible dungeon for them and locked their feet in stocks. Then he went to sleep. Why not? He didn’t care about them.
But these prisoners were different. They prayed in prison and then they sang praises! The other prisoners heard them, but the jailer slept on.
Now here’s something to remember: God knows what to do! He sent an earth­quake, a very special earthquake that threw open the prison doors and loos­ened every prisoner’s chains and stocks. It woke the jailer so that he jumped out of bed terrified!
One look at the open prison doors and he said, They’re all gone! The officials will kill me for letting them go, so I’ll take my sword and kill myself! But don’t forget, God cared for that jailer, and Paul and Silas cared too.
Don’t kill yourself! cried Paul from the prison. We are all here!
It was midnight, and the jailer called for a light. He ran into the prison and came trembling and fell down before Paul and Silas and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
What did he mean? Not saved from the officials, because he thought using his own sword was the answer to that. Here was a power he did not understand. Saved from what? From the power of God against him. Do you feel this too? The power of God is against you and your sins, and you cannot escape by tak­ing your own life. There is only one way of escape, and here it is: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:3131And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31)). The jailer believed, and he was saved from the power of God against his sins.
He brought the two prisoners home, washed their beaten backs, fed them, and was baptized, he and all his household, believing in God and rejoic­ing. What a night — and what a happy family!
Think About God’s Word!
1. How were Paul and Silas different from other prisoners?
2. It is impossible for our flesh to “rejoice” when we are in really bad circumstances. What did Paul say in a letter to the people in Philippi (Philippians 4:44Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4))?
Project: Our words are a lot easier for others to “hear” when we live consistently with what we say we believe. How did Joseph do that in Genesis 39? Show Bible verses that present other men and women living consistently with what they said they believed.