Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Mr. Peter Langbroek
What an unusual night! First an earthquake, and then father came home. The children would never forget it.*

They woke up startled. The ground heaved and shook under them in their home. Smash! Some clay jars had fallen. The children cried and called their mother. Dad wasnÕt home because he had a night shift at the Philippi jail.

What?! Father opened the door to let two prisoners in! Mother looked shocked. Why, father could get killed leaving the jail unguarded.

Mother and the servants recognized the prisoners right away. They were the Jewish troublemakers who were disobeying Roman rules and customs. Yesterday, there was a riot because of them. Word was that one of them, Paul, had commanded an evil spirit to come out of a slave girl. Her masters were angry because they couldnÕt make money from her fortune-telling any more.

The children stared at the men who were tired and beaten. Their backs had large red cuts that looked like stripes. They had been whipped before they were sent to prison.

Father introduced them as Paul and Barnabas. He explained why he brought these Jewish prisoners home. While he was guarding the prison he heard them singing psalms and hymns. How unusual for them to sing after being beaten and imprisoned. Then, after midnight, an earthquake shook the prison so the doors flung open and the chains loosened. That was it for him. All the prisoners would escape and he, the Philippian jailer, would be executed! Father told how he took his sword to kill himself when, from the darkness, the Jewish men told him to stop. ÒAll the prisoners are still here,Ó they said.

Father recalled how he heard these men sing and how they had cast out a demon from the slave girl. He knew these men were sent by God and their words were true. They were not troublemakers. He told them that he kneeled before Paul and Barnabas and cried out: ÒSirs, what must I do to be saved?Ó They answered, ÒBelieve on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.Ó

Then Paul and Barnabas explained who Jesus was. He was GodÕs Son, Who being God, became a man, lived and preached in Palestine, and died on the cross to set sinners free from GodÕs anger against their sin.

What these men spoke was so true. Mother, the servants, and the older children believed the message from their hearts.

Father washed the wounds on the prisonersÕ backs. Then the prisoners explained about baptism, a rite which everyone who believed should receive, because it pointed to Jesus washing people from their sin. That early morning, everyone in the jailerÕs home was baptized.

Children, I write this Bible story (Acts 16:19-34) because that early morning was a supreme FatherÕs Day, for father and his whole family. They had become a Christian family. Father had changed and the family mood had changed. After the family was baptized we read this: ÒAnd when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his houseÓ (Acts 16:34).

What a blessing it was for that household to eat with Paul and Barnabas. What a blessing for you, children, who have a God-believing father to be with you on FatherÕs Day (and other days). In a home where there is faith in God there is rejoicing. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved!

*Household may imply that there were no children, but I think IÕm making a safe assumption there were.

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