Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the story of Paul and Silas escaping from jail, and how they didn’t just run for their lives, but saved the jailer from killing himself.
I asked yesterday how you saw the jailer taking the sense of Christian community he’d just discovered, and passing it on.
We see this first in how he invites his former prisoners back to his home. He probably felt he owed them something. He also knew that they’d had the chance to run off when the jail’s doors opened from a miraculous earthquake, and that they hadn’t. So he knew when the time came to bring them into court, they’d probably still be there. So, he does a few favours for them.
He took care of their wounds, fed them, and rejoiced in the good news of Jesus that he’d just learned from them.
Paul and Silas were seeing the transformative and viral effect of Christian community. They didn’t just look out for themselves, by either suppressing their message to avoid imprisonment, or escaping when the opportunity presented itself. They shared with everyone around them about what God had done in Jesus, including the jailer. Eventually, the jailer started looking out for them.
Secondly, we see the jailer sharing the same good news about Jesus with HIS community – his family.
It says they were all baptized. This raises all kinds of questions – because in our culture we usually think that people come to faith, and are baptized, as individuals, sometimes even just as adults. But here we see that in Jesus’ day, things weren’t so individualistic. When the father became a follower of Jesus, he led his whole family to the same reality. This wasn’t just patriarchy rearing its ugly head; this was life with family and community at its centre.
The Bible says his entire household rejoiced that he had believed in God, even though it was a sudden and dangerous change for them all, to suddenly believe in Jesus instead of the pagan Roman gods.
They were all part of this change in their father’s life, taking on the joys and risks together, following Jesus as a community.
Question: What signs of individualism to you see in culture, and your own life? How does it contrast with the jailer’s experience? What changes might bring these experiences closer?