Silas

silhouette of kneeling man
 
“And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.”   Acts 15:39-41
 
The Church Year calendar marks today, February 10th, as the commemoration of Silas, also known as Silvanus. A leader in the early Christian church in Jerusalem, Silas joined Paul on his second missionary journey following the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). Little did Silas know what he was in for.
 
The second missionary journey of Paul was a struggle in many ways. While Paul and Silas were able to bring encouragement to new believers, the threat that this “new religion” brought to established Judaism led to persecution and imprisonment. Holding true to the testimony of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, meant that they were not simply unwelcome, but that they were putting their lives at risk.
 
But even in prison, God worked through these men. Their hymns of praise to God touched the hearts of others, including the jailer. Even in the darkest of circumstances, giving thanks to God and the goodness of Jesus, lives are changed.
 
Thankfully, most of us will never find ourselves in prison because of our faith. While Christians may not find themselves behind bars of steel, how many create prisons of their own where they lock themselves away from others, fearful to even talk about their faith lest someone might be offended? It is time that we pray for a boldness of the Spirit who can help us break free from any prison that we might create and share Jesus with others even as Paul and Silas did in prison.
 
The prison account of Paul and Silas in Acts 16 was not the end of the road for them. Their mission work continued for years and though they faced additional persecution, their message and ministry never ceased. May God grant us such boldness in our families, our communities, and nation.
 
Prayer: Lord Jesus, your suffering and death for my sins has given me freedom from the guilt and punishment that should have been mine. As your beloved child, help me to use this freedom to tell others about you that they too may receive what is only available from you. Grant me a loving and gracious tongue to speak your praises now and forever. Amen.

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