25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.”
When we read this story of Paul and Silas and where the Lord had led them, we understand why when by supernatural power they were set free, yet they did not flee the prison, but why did the other prisoners remain? The answer I feel is that they were encountering an experience of God in the Holy Spirit’s work. They were coming to realize that the true prison of life is not a place with bars and chains, the real prion is spiritual and brought on by sin and the penalty is death. While the physical chains were loosed the spiritual chains remained. The story tells of the jailer’s conversion, but I must think that others in that prison were freed that night when they encountered Holy Spirit and the good news of Christ Jesus.
Two things come from this story for personal application: The first God will get us in a place where we will accept the need for spiritual birth, renewal, or revival. For God loves the sinner and will bring them to a place of crisis in their life. The second is what will we do when given an encounter with God in this place either as a believer or non-believer. Will we flee or will we yield to the words from God that will bring true freedom. Our prison is not the circumstances, events, tragedies, or trials of life. Our prison is the spiritual bondage that results from our response to these times of our life.
In songs, hymns, rejoicing, and worshiping God we will be set free.