Acts 16

As Paul and Silas visit the churches, Paul meets Timothy in Lystra and wants him to join them.  He has him circumcised to give him "street cred" with the Jews to whom they bring the gospel in the area.  They continue west, and Paul has a vision of a Macedonian calling for help, so they cross the Aegean from modern Turkey to Greece.  Luke seems to join them at this point.  

They make for Philippi, a Roman colony, and the likeliest place there would be a Jewish assembly without a synagogue.  God converts Lydia through Paul and Silas speaking, and they stay with her.  Paul casts a demon out of a slave, and her owners charge them with being anti-Roman.  They are beaten and jailed.

God breaks them out of jail with an earthquake.  The jailer is going to kill himself, but Paul keeps him from doing it.  The jailer asks how to be saved, and Paul presents the gospel.  He believes, takes them to his house, tends their wounds, and has his family baptized.

The city rulers send to release Paul and Silas quietly, but Paul refuses.  He wants an apology, since he's a Roman citizen - apparently they never asked in the frenzy the day before.  This gives Paul the upper hand politically, which will help the fledgling church in aggressively Roman Philippi.

How this is about Jesus
He had said the apostles would bear witness to the ends of the earth.  They are now beyond Turkey, in the heart of Greece and in a Roman colony!  Yet the Spirit is active, bringing faith to several.  Jesus is not confined to any one place.

  • Paul writes to the Galatians about this time not to submit to circumcision, yet has Timothy circumcised!  The difference is in the intent: do you think you need it to follow God's command (no! to the Galatians), or do you do it to avoid people not even listening to you as you try to present the gospel to them (Paul with Timothy)?
  • It is highly doubtful the jailer's whole family is baptized by immersion, in the middle of the night, in the city.
  • Paul uses his Roman citizenship here to get a foothold of respectability for himself and for the church he planted.  I'm sure the rulers fear charges he could bring against them, and so track him to Lydia's house.  So now they'll treat Lydia carefully.  We are starting to need this kind of shrewdness in dealing with the state, again!

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