As comforting as the safety of eternal life in Jesus is, it does not come without discomfort, and even danger, in the present.
In these passages, Paul and his companion, Silas, barely escape angry mobs in Phillipi, Thessalonica, and Berea. We see dramatic examples of what happens when the gospel turns upside down everything in which people put their hope and trust.
Jesus threatens the brisk trade of fortune tellers who offer false comfort to those anxious about their future. And, Jesus threatens the power of the Jewish elites whose continuing authority depended on denying Him as the Christ, the son of God.
One of the keys to understanding how we should live today in the hope we proclaim in Christ is found when Paul and Silas are jailed in Phillipi. As they discovered, it is often only in times of great difficulty when we choose to remain in joyful worship of God and completely trust in Jesus’ ability to rescue, that we will see “all the doors opened and everyone’s bonds unfastened.” (Acts 16:26)
Paul and Silas allowed themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit to Macedonia, into and out of danger, knowing that it was all part of God’s purpose to bring people to Christ.
Indeed, it is the confidence of that “surrendered” faith, seen in Paul’s and Silas’ fervent prayers and hymns, as well as their refusal to flee the earthquake-shattered prison, that convicts the heart of the jailer. “What must I do to be saved?” he begs. (Acts. 16:30)
Open doors for the gospel often come by way of the danger accompanying an active faith. And freedom for ourselves—and those who do not know Jesus—comes only by way of trusting in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.