35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.”
37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.”
38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city.
40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.
Remember how that jailer was going to kill himself because he thought all of the prisoners got free? If he would have been tried by the magistrates, he would have been sentenced to death for letting the prisoners go free.
Well, guess what the punishment is for flogging a Roman citizen without a trial? It isn’t patriotic dignity or honor that made those magistrates sorry that they flogged Paul and Silas. If word got out that the leaders of Philippi had Paul and Silas beaten, the leaders would have been put to death and Philippi would get some new magistrates!
The boldness of the Holy Spirit is great. Magistrates summon people. Magistrates rule a city and judge the laws and the outcomes of people’s lives.
Here is a recently-dressed, still wounded but getting first-aid prisoner. A prisoner of the deepest part of the prison.
And he summons the magistrate of Philippi and demands an apology!
Who is in charge here? Who rules the lives of men so far away from Jerusalem and way outside of the Promised Land? Yahweh rules. The Spirit of Christ Jesus who rose from the dead lives in Paul. Paul knows Who is in charge in Philippi.
Years later, Paul would write to the church there:
3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
4:1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Philippians 3:20–4:1 ESV
The life of Jesus Christ shows us that we have nothing to fear. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit helps us to live that way.
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