About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 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.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.
A Most Important Question
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” This is the most important question in the world. It cuts to the heart of the most important issue of life—the matter of eternal life.
At the critical moment of life and death, there was only one correct answer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” Human philosophies could not answer the jailer’s question, so Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.”
At the heart of the “word of the Lord” is the message that through faith in Jesus who lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death on our behalf, we are saved from sin—from the effects of sin (guilt and shame) and from the final result of sin (punishment in hell). Paul and Silas do not tell the jailer to “do” anything. He is to believe what Jesus has already done for him. There is no other way to be saved.
The jailer is in one moment a desperate, guilty, enemy of Christ and in the next a forgiven, loving servant to Christ. This is the power of Christ and his salvation. If you know it, share it. If you do not, keep coming back to hear “the word of the Lord.” It is for you and your household.
Lord, thank you for your Word which is the Word of salvation. Thank you for giving us life in a world of death. Amen.