Paul and Silas are in the Macedonian city of Philippi (Acts 16:12). While there, they are dragged before the city’s magistrates, face unjust accusations, hear a crowd verbally attack them, get illegally beaten with rods by the police, and end up in jail with their feet in stocks.
If we were to endure such mistreatment, we might be tempted to respond with great indignation. The injury and injustice of it all! Why us? Where was God?
But Jesus Christ is the truth who sets us free to love and leads us into all vitality. Paul and Silas know this and witness to it. Their feet stuck in stocks, their wounds smarting and untreated, what do they do? They pray to God and sing his praises. Later, they save the jailer from harm, preach the Good News to him, and baptize him and his entire household.
Paul and Silas show us that the word of Jesus Christ spoken to us, and empowered by his Holy Spirit burning brightly inside our hearts, frees us from bondage to circumstance. Mistreatment no longer need make us angry or sad. Strengthened in Christ, we now may choose to respond with love and joy despite circumstance.
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