The jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.
He was a man’s man, possibly a retired Roman soldier—just the type to receive a government service job as a jailer in Philippi. No doubt he was tough as nails. So what got him to wash his prisoners’ wounds?
He met Jesus not through an intellectual conversation or an emotional encounter. He was a practical man without much, if any, spiritual interest.
Sitting in the Philippi prison, Paul and his fellow prisoners had just been beaten with rods, their backs a grotesque mess, oozing blood. The jailer didn’t care. When they arrived, he followed his orders and put them in stocks—a kind of torture in itself, but also an extra layer of security.
But an earthquake changed everything. Doors flew open. Chains loosened. In an instant the jailer knew he was doomed. The prisoners would run free, and he would be executed. He drew his sword to kill himself.
But no one ran. And Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” In sheer wonder the jailer “fell trembling before Paul and Silas” and asked how he could be saved.
They shared the good news of Jesus with him, possibly telling how Jesus had changed their own lives. The jailor wanted that too. So he was baptized—and his family along with him. New life comes in unexpected ways—even through suffering.
Lord, we don’t want to suffer. But if we do, please help us see in our suffering a chance to speak your grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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