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Salvation and Rejoicing: Acts 16: 27-34

December 13, 2020 Speaker: Bob DeWaay

Scripture: Acts 16:27-34

The great earthquake that released the prisoners from their chains and caused the Philippian jailer to prepare to kill himself leads to a glorious salvation. The ancients attributed earthquakes to the gods and wondered which god was angry about what. Paul and Silas had been singing hymns while in chains which likely got everyone’s attention so they stayed even when loosed from their bonds. The jailer thus asked, “what must I do to be saved.” Whatever he meant by “saved,” Paul commanded him to believe on the Lord Jesus, along with his household. We discuss the implications of “Believe in the Lord Jesus” in the broader context of gospel preaching in Acts. The details were filled in since Luke tells us that Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord” to the jailer and his household.

This does not prove infant baptism or “household salvation” since all were old enough to learn the word of the Lord that was spoken. They whole household “rejoiced” which is a common response in Luke/Acts to Messianic salvation. The Greek word used in this case for “rejoiced” is not the most common word for rejoice or the noun joy. We trace that word through Luke/Acts and also some of its usages in the Psalms. Those who are recipients of God’s mighty work of salvation and deliverance respond with rejoicing. This theme is already set in Luke chapter 1. The members of the Jailer’s household rejoiced and were baptized because God had saved them.