By Jon Shonebarger

The demon-possessed damsel was an annoyance to the missionary team of Paul and Silas. The girl was indwelled by a spirit of divination, and exploited by her masters for significant financial gain. It was a prosperous endeavor by brutal men, who only cared about their crooked business interests and not the spiritual or physical welfare of this young woman.

For many days the demonic girl followed behind Paul and Silas, heckling their ministry work. She shouted that Paul and Silas were servants of the Most High God, declaring the way of salvation. Finally, Paul turned and demanded that the demonic spirit come out of the girl. She was immediately delivered from the bondage of the demon, and fully set free from the evil divination that she had so long practiced. What a glorious transformation occurred in her life!

Submitted photo
Jon Shonebarger

The girl’s masters were furious at their loss of income from this exploitation. As a result, they captured Paul and Silas and turned them over to the magistrates. Allegations of troublemaking and false teaching were levied against the ministry team that incited the crowd. The magistrates striped and flogged Paul and Silas. They charged the local jailer to secure them in the inner prison (solitary imprisonment in today’s vernacular). Under Roman jurisdiction, a jailer faced death if an inmate escaped their oversight.

Beaten and with their feet bound in shackles, Paul and Silas sang praises to God at the midnight hour. These glorious songs of praise were heard down the corridors of the prison where inmates in general population heard them sing. Abruptly, an earthquake shook the foundation of the prison, resulting in the doors springing open. The inmates were freed!

The jailer awoke from his sleep and saw the catastrophe. The inmates were loosed and able to run for their freedom. Aware of his impending demise at the hands of the Roman authorities, he drew out his sword to commit suicide. He would rather take his own life than face cruel crucifixion at the hands of the Romans! Paul cried to him and implored him to spare his life, testifying that all the inmates remained!

The jailer called for a light and came and cast himself at the feet of Paul and Silas. He desperately inquired, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). The reply, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Verse 31).

The jailer’s response was immediate and obvious. He took Paul and Silas to his home where he fed them and ministered to their wounds. The Scripture tells us he and his family rejoiced and put their faith in Christ as their personal Saviour. The entire household would follow in believer’s baptism. What a glorious turn of events for this family and the ultimate demonstration of God’s power to save.

God turns victims into victors, as demonstrated in the damsel’s life. He utilized persecuted missionaries as messengers of hope and salvation. He turned a hopeless, suicidal jailer into a victorious child of God, along with his entire household! What an awesome God!

You and I can be delivered from any bondage, overcome any obstacle, be set free from suicidal plans, be saved from our sin and receive the gift of salvation through faith in a resurrected Saviour! Would you trust Him today?

Have a good week and remember God loves you!

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.