“Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:24-25
When I used to play the board game “Monopoly”, one of the desired cards you wanted to draw was the “Get out of Jail free” card. Oh, it was cool to have the little car to move around the board and Park Place and Boardwalk were desirable things to get. But the “Get out of Jail free” card was priceless. Most of the time during the game, you landed in jail – not because you intended to but because stuff just happened. The roll of the dice. The draw of a card. It just happened but there you were… stuck and unable to move ahead until that card set you free.
In the book of Acts, there are several accounts of how Jesus’ followers got divine “get out of jail free” cards while building the young church and introducing people to the power and presence of Christ in their lives. In Acts 5, the apostles were put in jail but at night, an angel opened the prison doors. In Acts 12, Peter was once again in prison, and this time an angel not only opened the prison doors but led him all the way through the city gates. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were in jail at midnight, not complaining, but praying and singing hymns to God. And others heard and saw how they reacted under the pressure.
We have so many things that want to keep us “in jail” in our lives. Things from the past that want to haunt us. Things in our present that offer happiness but often end up stealing it from us. Things that tell us we will never be free. And by our own will power, we never will be free of hurts, hang ups and harmful habits. But by the power of divine intervention, we can.
Belief and trust in Jesus is our get out of jail free card in life. Jesus died once and for all to pay the price for our sins, a price we couldn’t pay. Jesus – who rose from the tomb because death can’t keep our God prisoner. Jesus – who walked through the locked door of the room where disciples hid out of fear. Jesus – who when he ascended to the Father sent His Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us in truth….to set us free. Evil seeks to imprison us through fear, prejudice, resentment, anger. God’s Holy Spirit will open the doors and walk us out of those prisons – if we listen and follow His lead. Jesus has the power to open the doors that hold us captive, the doors that hold us back from freedom in Christ.
Are we complaining about what is happening in our lives or are we praising God in the middle of the stuff of life?
We will go round and round in the game of life, but the most valuable thing to take with us is not a toy car, a paper deed, or a special card . Jesus is all we will ever need to win in life and for all eternity.