Faith in  Christ   leads to action


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Jesus Our Lord and the Model for Us

doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened” (Acts 16:25-26 NRSV). Afraid that the prisoners had escaped, the jailer was going to kill himself when Paul stopped him. The jailer asked Paul and Silas how he could be saved, “They answered, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household’” (Acts 16:31 NRSV). The jailer and his entire household were baptized. After the local officials found out that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were concerned because they had ordered them beaten without a trial and the officials wanted them to leave the city. However, upon Paul’s request, the officials escorted Paul and Silas from the city. “After leaving the prison they went to Lydia's home; and when they had seen and encouraged the brothers and sisters there, they departed” (Acts 16:40 NRSV). Paul and Silas had baptized Lydia and her household. She had a business in purple cloth. Thus, even though Paul and Silas were in Philippi only a short time, Acts indicates baptisms of two households, a miraculous healing of the female slave, a public disturbance in which Paul and Silas were spotlighted, an earthquake and extraordinary release from prison, and an official escort upon leaving the city. These astonishing events would have been remembered for some time by the Christian believers in Philippi who heard the gospel from Paul and Silas.

            It is remarkable that Paul’s first stop on the European continent would have produced such a vibrant group of believers, mostly among Gentiles. “There is no archaeological evidence that Jews lived in the city, and Luke makes no reference to a synagogue there in his account of Paul’s visit to Philippi in Acts 16. His reference to a ‘place of prayer’ outside the city, apparently attended only by women, suggests a minimal Jewish presence: the vast majority of Paul’s converts would have been Gentiles.”[1]

[1] Morna Hooker, “Philippians,” in The Cambridge Companion to St Paul, ed. James D. G. Dunn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 105.

Act_17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.