Paul and Silas, shown no mercy by the jailer since their arrival, answer his plea with a simple message of mercy. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” The jailer’s heart is changed, demonstrated in washing their wounds, housing, and feeding Paul and Silas. There is much rejoicing in his home, for real life has come to stay. Where death and fear have reigned, rejoicing drives them out as the Lord ascends in the heart of this man and his family.
The next day, the magistrates send their messengers to the jail with instruction to release these two prisoners. Paul insists that the magistrates come themselves and apologize for mistreating him and Silas, who are Roman citizens. Fear boils over in the hearts of the magistrates. They, as rulers in a Roman colony, have abused their fellow contrymen.
Here is the point I find supremely stunning and challenging. Paul and Silas could have asserted their Roman citizenship when all this trouble began, but they didn’t. Think about that for a day or three. I’ll be back in a few with some more thoughts on this curious turn of events.