We are All Here! Acts 16:28
But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!” Acts 16:28
“Do yourself no harm, for we are all here…” Paul cried out to the guard of the prison, whom woke from his slumber to discover that the gates to the prison were wide open, and the shackles on the feet were all loosened. He looked around and not only had reason to fear the prisoners, but even greater was the Magistrate who had given him strict orders to secure the Paul and Silas.
The Guard woke up from his sleep and realized the dangerous situation he was in and determined that it was best to take his life, and to suffer at the hands of the prisoners and or the Roman authorities.
He grabbed his sword, but before he could take his life, a loud cry reached him before he could finish the action. “Do yourself no harm,” Paul starts! I love this portion of the statement, because it is what I am thinking when I speak to those who are living outside of Christ, and to those living in Christ but not submitted to Him. Its hard to believe for many, but the wages and the reward of sin is not just the physical death, but the suffering that extends beyond one taking their last breaths!
Millions reject Christ, running from truth, and while this is sad, the shame found is the many people running the opposite direction, refusing to take responsibility for Kingdom. Many once free, hoist the blood stained banner over their house, and their public declaration of Lord and King stop once they emerge from the water.
But Paul and Silas were different. Once free, they understood their purpose was to lead as many people to freedom as they could. They saw those unsaved as an opportunity and those newly saved as a responsibility. Though free to leave, Paul and Silas were arrested in place by the knowledge what others were listening, and though physically freed, they were spiritually in bondage. In addition, the Jailer was a lost soul, and though sleep through praise and worship, was the one God had identified as ready to be freed.
Paul says, “Do yourself no harm,” and then continues, “for we are all here”. You don’t have to continue on the path that you are on. There is no need to harm yourself from this point on. “We are all here.” What I heard resonating in my Spirit was the need for those lost, struggling and suffering to know that they have not been abandoned. Despite their prior encounter, Paul and Silas, put his needs before their own. As opposed to judging him for his prior actions, they remained in place so he would not face the eternal judge without a righteous covering.
What would happen is we had a “We are all here” approach?
We are living in a time where everyone is placed in to categories. Sin serves like folder dividers, placing us into groups, and the world organizes us in such a way, that we find ourselves saying to those no free, “we are over here, and you are over there”. And while it is our goal to bring them to freedom, is the judgement and separation that works against the affirming and convicting love of Christ.
Paul and Silas understood that the spotlight of righteousness cast by Christ is more than enough to handle and accept without the judgement and condemnation of man who is imperfect, but just filed differently. And while our invoice has been paid, we recognize that the sins of all have been paid for with the same death, but that the lack of confession hasn’t allowed their invoice to be reconciled.
Paul could have said to the Jailer, ‘“…we are all here” for you’, and the statement would have been just as accurate.
Who are you there for? Who is your assignment? Who is following you?
I love the urgency and emotion displayed by Paul, as he “cried out.” Though we don’t know if Paul could physically see the Jailer, we do know that he knew that he was getting ready to take drastic measures. Maybe he sensed it in the Spirit, maybe God spoke to him in a voice, maybe the inmates spread the word to the center of the jail, or maybe he just had a birds eye view. What we do know is that before the end of the story could be written, Paul lifted up his voice with a loud cry. I believe this cry came not just in response to what he saw, but in response to what he believed.
Are you driven to speak out about what you believe? Would you watch someone solidify their fate as opposed to helping someone solidify their faith?