25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 The jailer[a] called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 They spoke the word of the Lord[b] to him and to all who were in his house. 33 At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 34 He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.
Imagine you are Paul or Silas. You’ve just been arrested because of your faith and are sitting in jail. Because of your faith, you have been beaten with rocks, flogged, and put in shackles. What would be going on in your minds? If this were me, I’m not sure I would have the faith and conviction that these two men had. But Paul and Silas kept the faith and even after they had been arrested, they were still worshipping God and proclaiming God’s message to the other men in the jail. Something amazing happened. While they were praying and worshipping, an earthquake came and destroyed the jail. They could have ran; there was nothing holding them back. However, they stayed, much to the relief of the jailer. The jailer was amazed that they would stay. I believe the jailer was even more amazed because the earthquake came while the group was worshipping. It had to have been the work of God, the jailer must have thought. And that’s not even the end of the story. The jailer asks Paul and Silas how he can be saved. He has seen the mighty works of God’s hand and has come to believe in God. God does some pretty insane things to get us to believe in God and show God’s power to us. Earthquakes, violent storms on the sea, the list could go on and on. However, I believe the most insane thing God did was to send Jesus into the world and that through his death and resurrection we would come to know our Lord and the promises God makes with us, God’s precious creation. As we prepare to welcome the Christ-child into the world, stop and listen to how God is continuing to use you to bring God’s love to a world that desperately needs to hear it.
Gracious God, you used an earthquake to convert the jailer and bring him to your Word. Use us, your creation, to spread your love and your message of salvation to all whom we meet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.