WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ (Acts 16:10 NIV)
Last year on June 8, 2018, the whole world was shocked to hear of the suicide of celebrity chef, writer, and TV personality, Anthony Bourdain at the age of 61. He was someone who seemed to portray that he enjoyed life and food as he travelled all over the world highlighting the different cuisines of each continent. Not many people knew he suffered from depression.
Bourdain wore a tattoo on his arm that read in ancient Greek, “I am certain of nothing.” Here is what he told the Guardian newspaper (Jan. 15, 2017): “I was an unhappy soul, with a huge heroin and then crack problem. I hurt, disappointed and oﬀended many, many, many people and I regret a lot. It’s a shame I have to live with.”
Paul and Silas are in prison for their faith. They are at Philippi. There is a female slave who could predict the future. Her owners make money off her fortune telling.
This is how the author of Acts tells the rest of the story.
She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.’ She kept this up for many days. Finally, Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ At that moment the spirit left her. (Acts 16:17-18 NIV)
The girl is liberated of the evil spirit. Her owners lose their source of money making. They are angry. They stir the crowds against Paul and Silas, accusing them of being against the Roman religions. They are stripped, beaten and put in chains in prison.
What do Paul and Silas do when they are in prison?
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. (Acts 16:25-26 NIV) The jailer wakes up, sees the prisons doors open and draws out his sword to proceed to kill himself.
But Paul shouted, ‘Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!’ The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ (Acts 16:28-30 NIV)
What must I do to be saved? The jailer is relieved to hear Paul’s words that the prisoners are still there. Yet, he senses that even with the prisoners still there and accounted for, that there is something deeper in his life that he is seeking for, a salvation that the himself is not able to understand.
I wonder if this is the root of the inner cry of Anthony Bourdain. What must I do to be saved?
They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.’ Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptised. (Acts 16:31-33 NIV)