This morning we continued in Acts 16. Paul angrily delivers a slave girl of a spirit of divination and the locals become angry.
When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods….
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….
Acts 16:20-22, 26-27 NRSV https://bible.com/bible/2016/act.16.20-27.NRSV
The gods lost control of one of their servants and the people and authorities acted, had them flogged and thrown in prison. In the depth of the night while Paul and Silas sing God’s praises, God acts and shakes the earth, demonstrating to the principalities and powers that the earth was his, freeing his servants.
Paul brings the Way to Europe and the battle heats up.
Paul tells us that in bringing the Way, our battle is not with people but with principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12). The chosen weapon of the gods was fear, fear about the economy and status of Philippi.
In this story we glimpse the cosmic battle. God reclaims the nation through the preaching of Paul, deliverance and the shaking of the ground.
The jailer decides to fall on his sword when he sees the prison doors burst open. His masters are harsh.
Paul acts kindly to save him. And as with Lydia’s household the jailer seeks salvation showing kindness back soothing the wounds inflicted by his masters.
At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 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.
Acts 16:33-34 NRSV https://bible.com/bible/2016/act.16.33-34.NRSV
A modern world view divorced of the heavenly realm, obscures this cosmic story. I wonder if with the current threats to our sense of entitlement and what we see in the news whether this world view needs challenging.
We are in a time of trial. If we opened our eyes what would we see? Maybe a heavenly host and acts of kindness. We need delivering from our slavish enthralment to Mammon and claim the ground for community and neighbourliness through steadfast love, truth and faithfulness in Christ.
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 NRSVhttps://bible.com/bible/2016/eph.6.12.NRSV