The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” (Acts 16:27-31)
We all know negative people. They believe in Murphy’s Law—whatever can go wrong will go wrong at the most inopportune time. They are self-prophetic and trust in no one but themselves. The jailer is such a person. He could’ve been home with his family, but he didn’t trust the guards or the building’s foundation to keep Paul and Silas incarcerated. He took extra steps to ensure they wouldn’t escape by guarding the jail himself and placing their feet in stocks even though it forced them to lie on their bloody, wounded backs. The jailer knew that if Paul and Silas escaped, a cruel death would await him.
God wants us to fall to our knees and cry, “What must I do to be saved?” Since the jailer was expecting the worst, God let the worst happen at the most inopportune time for the jailer. Earthquakes occur in North Macedonia, so the earthquake wasn’t surprising, the timing was. It happened just after Paul and Silas started praising God in their misery and at a time when the jailer would fall to his knees.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19, 22b, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” Paul was set free when the prison doors flew open and his chains came loose. He used his freedom to become a slave to the jailer, most likely the man crying out in Paul’s vision, so he could be part of the miracle to save him. God’s plans and timing are always perfect.
The jailer admired Paul. The jailer couldn’t be happy in times of stress. He didn’t think to look if Paul and Silas were still in the prison. The jailer wouldn’t have been; he didn’t have a selfless bone in his body. But Paul stayed because it was the only way to save the jailer. Can you imagine how the jailer was touched that Paul would stay to save him after what the jailer did to Paul? The jailer fell to his knees and cried out, “What must I do to be saved?” The jailer most likely was asking what he could do to be saved from the cruel leaders of Macedonia who employed him. But Paul told him how he could be saved from everything: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Dearest Heavenly Father, I praise you for the promise to save me and my household because I believe in my Lord Jesus. Help me be selfless like Paul and be all things to all people in order that I might help You save some. Help me trust you to save me from my problems so you don’t have to enact Murphy’s law to increase my faith. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.