Paul, Silas and Timothy sailed from Troas to Macedonia where, after she was baptized, they were persuaded to stay with Lydia, a woman after God’s heart. While in Philippi, they would now face persecution that would lead to their imprisonment.
“16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.” (Acts 16:16-18)
The missionaries had gone to the place of prayer, where they found a possessed woman who had a gift of prophecy. She used her gift for the profit of her masters, whom were Gentile, Roman citizens.
After a few days enduring her taunting, Paul called on the Holy Spirit to leave the woman, which he did, leading to the arrest of Paul and Silas.
“19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. 20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” (Acts 16:19-21)
The Gentile men went on the offensive against the missionaries, whom they labeled as Jews, and brought them to the center of town where the magistrates held their courts. The men called for them to be jailed for being Jewish, also for their behavior, which they claimed violated Roman law. At the time, Jews had been expelled from Rome, and Philippi, being among a Roman province, would not be a place where Jews, or their teaching were outlawed by Claudius Caesar.
“22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.” (Acts 16:22)
Because it was customary to remove prisoners’ clothes before they endured punishment, the Galatian judges did so before beating both Paul and Silas as part of a guilty verdict returned by default, as both men were Jews.
“23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.” (Acts 16:23-24)
After they were beaten, Paul and Silas were imprisoned in the deepest, darkest cell within the jail where they were fastened into stocks, an instrument of torture as well as confinement in which the prisoners’ feet were stretched wide apart, and thrust through holes in a wall of wood.
There, in such an unlikely place, God would bring both opportunity and fulfillment to Paul and Silas. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre