There was a massive earthquake. The foundations of the prison were shaken; the doors were flung open; and the chains holding everyone, including Paul and Silas, were unfastened. Thus begins Acts 16:22-34, where a jailer reminds us of what Jesus did before he was betrayed.
After the earthquake, seeing the prison doors are all open, the jailer assumes the prisoners have gone free. He is about to kill himself when Paul shouts, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here (28, NASB)!” The jailer, discovering Paul and Silas are still there, falls at their feet and says, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved (30)?” They reply, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household (31).”
What happens next is amazing. The jailer takes Paul and Silas to his house, washes their wounds and shares a meal with them (33-34). It is reminiscent of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and sharing a meal with them before his crucifixion. After Jesus washed their feet he said: “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them (John 13:15-17).”
The jailer who once had authority to keep Paul and Silas in chains, now humbles himself before them — “a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him (16).” The jailer washes their wounds — “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you (15).” The jailer and his household are baptized in faith in Christ. The jailer acts on this faith — “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them (17).”
© 2021 CGThelen