Paul and Silas Are Thrown Into Prison
One day we were going to the place of prayer. On the way we were met by a female slave. She had a spirit that helped her tell people what was going to happen. She earned a lot of money for her owners by doing this. She followed Paul and the rest of us around. She shouted, “These men serve the Most High God. They are telling you how to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became upset. Turning around, he spoke to the spirit that was in her. “In the name of Jesus Christ,” he said, “I command you to come out of her!” At that very moment the spirit left the woman.
Her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone. So they grabbed Paul and Silas. They dragged them into the market place to face the authorities. They brought them to the judges. “These men are Jews,” her owners said. “They are making trouble in our city. They are suggesting practices that are against Roman law. These are practices we can’t accept or take part in.”
The crowd joined the attack against Paul and Silas. The judges ordered that Paul and Silas be stripped and beaten with rods. They were whipped without mercy. Then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put Paul and Silas deep inside the prison. He fastened their feet so they couldn’t get away.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying. They were also singing hymns to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a powerful earthquake. It shook the prison from top to bottom. All at once the prison doors flew open. Everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up. He saw that the prison doors were open. He pulled out his sword and was going to kill himself. He thought the prisoners had escaped. “Don’t harm yourself!” Paul shouted. “We are all here!”
The jailer called out for some lights. He rushed in, shaking with fear. He fell down in front of Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out. He asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus. Then you and everyone living in your house will be saved.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him. They also spoke to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night, the jailer took Paul and Silas and washed their wounds. Right away he and everyone who lived with him were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house. He set a meal in front of them. He and everyone who lived with him were filled with joy. They had become believers in God.
Early in the morning the judges sent their officers to the jailer. They ordered him, “Let those men go.” The jailer told Paul, “The judges have ordered me to set you and Silas free. You can leave now. Go in peace.”
But Paul replied to the officers. “They beat us in public,” he said. “We weren’t given a trial. And we are Roman citizens! They threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and personally lead us out.”
The officers reported this to the judges. When the judges heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they became afraid. So they came and said they were sorry. They led them out of the prison. Then they asked them to leave the city. After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house. There they met with the brothers and sisters. They told them to be brave. Then they left.