I was leading a youth event this weekend (post on that to come as soon as my brain wakes up enough to write it) and as we were sitting in worship on Saturday night i picked up my journal and started to write. The speaker was talking about Paul, and focusing in particular on this really awesome passage in Acts where Paul and Silas are going around preaching the gospel when this slave girl who works as a fortune teller starts following them around shouting that they were servants of God. After days of this, Paul gets so annoyed with her that he turns around and casts out the spirit of divination that’s in her. I love this picture so much. Paul gets ANNOYED and casts out a DEMON! I get annoyed and flip someone off or lash out at my husband or, at my very best, go in my room and scream into a pillow. But not Paul. He gets annoyed and uses his anger to bring glory to God. As if that’s not cool enough on its own, He gets thrown into prison for it so that even cooler things can happen.
So he’s just chilling there, in prison, “praying and singing hymns to God,” when suddenly an earthquake comes along and causes the doors to open and all of the prisoners to become unshackled. When the jail keeper woke up and realized what had happened, he draws his sword to kill himself because the prisoners escaped on his watch. But Paul’s voice stops him short. “Do not harm yourself,” he says, “for we are all here.”
ARE YOU GETTING THIS?! They were ALL there. It’s insane already that Paul and Silas didn’t escape, but what’s absolutely crazy is that ALL THE OTHER PRISONERS stayed with them. They were so captivated by Paul’s message, so captivated by JESUS, that they would rather stay in his presence even if it meant staying in prison. When the guard sees this, he too comes to a saving knowledge of Christ. (I imagine God dropping the mic and walking off the stage at this point.) Continue reading