Tuesday 31 May 2011

Bible Book:

"Then he brought them outside and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'" (v. 30)

Acts 16:22-34 Tuesday 31 May 2011


It is claimed that Saint Francis of Assisi once said, "Preachthe gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." It is a powerfuland thought provoking statement, and in some ways it summarises theevents in today's reading.

Paul and Silas are in prison, and yet their hope and theirconfidence in God remain strong. They join together in the singingof hymns despite the difficulties of their immediate situation - sochallenging us to trust in God when our own lives are far fromstraightforward.

The earthquake, and the fact that Paul and Silas do not use thatevent as a means of escape, leads the jailer beyond his initialthoughts of suicide to a place where the question of eternalsalvation is raised. By the time we come to the end of the passagethe jailer and his family have heard more about the message ofJesus (v. 32), have become believers and been baptised (v. 33) andhave offered Christian hospitality to Paul and Silas (v. 34).

It is a powerful record of a powerful event - but it is interestingto note that the jailer's question, "Sirs, what must I do to besaved?" (v. 30) comes before and not after the verbal explanationof the gospel (good news). It is the behaviour of Paul and Silasthat makes such an impact on the jailer that results in him askingsuch a significant spiritual question.

This leads us back to the words of Saint Francis and to areflection on the challenge of commending Christ today. We areperhaps aware that we live in an image-rich society where, forinstance, we often need to wait until the end of a televisionadvertisement in order to discover what the product is that isactually being advertised. The focus on image over information canclearly be overdone.

However, it is equally clear that commending Christ in wordswithout our words building on an appropriately Christ-likelifestyle will be less than fully effective. Paul and Silas do knowthe words to say when the time is right - but this is not wherethey begin. Indeed, 'actions do speak louder thanwords'. 

To Ponder

How might your actions silently proclaim God'slove today?

"What must I do to be saved?" How would youanswer this question?

Previous Page Monday 30 May 2011
Next Page Wednesday 01 June 2011