When Faithfulness Bares Its Throat (Part 2)

Scripture: John 17:17, 18 & 20-22 -  "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world...Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as Thou Father art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me. And the glory which Thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one even as we are one..."

Acts 16:25-26 - "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: And the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: And immediately all of the doors were opened, and every ones' bands were loosed."

A certain lead-jailer, in charge, was aroused by the commotion, and seeing all the freed up spaces, assumed many escapees, which would not be pleasing for the Roman leadership over him, to hear of it. After all, Rome was 'in-charge', and all about law and order, as it defined it, and benefited from it. After all, it [Rome] was the representation of the wish of the 'gods', whose ambassador on earth was Caesar. Failure to have order of the Roman sort was unacceptable.

The attention, the consequences, could be harsh... he figured to kill himself, sword drawn... but God...

In this setting autocide [or suicide] could be fear-based, preferring a fast controlled end of life by one's own hand, than the possibility of a violent, drawn-out, likely public death.

It could also be 'honor' based suicide [much like martyrdom] inferring that as I am yours, and I have blemished your reputation, I apologize, by giving my life [for Rome's sake & Caesar and the gods].

Alternatively, if could be self-sacrificing to deflect the punishment and harm, that might be brought upon his wife and children, as an extension of Rome's 'justice', for his failure.

In other words, his sacrifice may have been other-minded. He may have had a one-another mindset tucked beneath the layers of Roman societal hardening and seduction.

The text does not explicitly give us the motivation, but the end implies a possibility.

Acts 16:27-34 -  "And the keeper of the prison awakening out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had fled.  But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas.  And brought them out , and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.  And when he had brought them [Paul and Silas] into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house."

FAITHFULNESS upon God's faithfulness.

When the sword of 'Rome' is exchanged for the sword which is 'the Word of the Lord', there is life and there is liberty... There are salvations!
There's more...

By doctrine, we know that it is the personal and earnest plea for God's mercy, that saves the person; personally calling upon Christ, and yet here, and with Lydia, there is the saving of the household. My hunch, and it may be more imagined than explicit, is that because it mattered enough within these new believers, that God enlarged His outpouring, and saved the family. This would arguably be an extra-doctrinal display of God's sovereignty with salvation, God, being omniscient, justifying whom He will, how He will. 'Acts' being a 'what-who-when' book, more so than a 'why' book, permits the exceptional without the exceptional applying to most. Typically 'every tub has to sit on its own bottom'.

But a sovereign God, who declared His love so richly, yet personally, lets grace and mercy, even in the stark light of holiness, be a comfort...His exceptional embrace of us, through the cross, is exceptionally faithful, and exceptionally awesome, and that promise for we who believe is indeed a blessed assurance, anchored with His historical resurrection.

This is why we can have FAITHFULNESS upon God's faithfulness.  This is how faithfulness bares its throats.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth...therein is the righteousness of God revealed

FROM FAITH TO FAITH: as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'"  Romans 1:16,17

Welcome to the book of Acts 29:1.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, whether through a few words, or the slightest of gestures to the most self-sacrificing of opportunity I may be called upon to tender, let me be faithful enough.

Whether far-reaching, or merely as far as my extended hands can go, let me be faithful enough.
Whether benefiting those whom I dislike, or those whom I am dearest with, with my gifting and all prayer, let me be faithful enough.
Whether Your grace affords me one more minute, or a billion and one more minutes, in it, let me be faithful enough!

(by Dr. McNeal Brockington)

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