The Orthodox Pages



15th January 2015





















































































































































Continuing with our study on the Acts of the Apostles, at our last meeting we stopped in chapter fourteen where Paul and Barnabas left Iconium and went to Lystra and Derbe and looked at the story of the Protomartyr Thecla who was born in Iconium and was associated with the Apostles at the time they were there.

So returning to the Acts we find the Apostles in Lystra. At the gates of this town was a man who was born a cripple and had never walked. He was probably there to ask for alms from the people entering. At the gates was Paul preaching and the crippled man heard what Paul was saying. Paul took notice of him and perceived that the man believed his words and had faith to be healed. With a loud voice so that all those present could hear him he told the man to stand upright and the man leaped up and walked. When the people saw what Paul had done they shouted that the gods had come down to them in the likeness of men and they called Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes because he was the chief speaker and Hermes was the messenger of the gods. In the English translation they are given the Latin names of the gods Jupiter and Mercurius.

After the Miracle Paul and Barnabas must have entered the gates, but the people and the priest of Zeus, who was there because there was a large statue of Zeus at the gate, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and planned to offer sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul. When the apostles heard of what was about to happen, they tore their clothes as was the custom of the Jews when they heard blasphemy against God, and ran in among the people crying out why they do these things. They explained: we are also mortal men with passions just like yourselves, and we have come to you to preach unto you that you should turn from these vanities and accept the living God who made heaven, earth and the sea and all things that are therein. In past times God allowed you gentile nations to walk in your own ways, but he did not leave you without some witness of himself. He gave you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness. Preaching to them of God they persuaded the people not to offer sacrifice to them. When Paul preached to the Jews he preached to them Jesus Christ because they believed in the one true God and had to be persuaded that Christ was the expected Messiah, but now preaching to the gentiles who believed in many gods, he preached to them monotheism, the worship of one God so that they could first digest the idea of one God before preaching to them of Jesus Christ.
In the meantime certain Jews had come from Antioch and Iconium. They probably followed the apostles with the hope of putting a stop to their preaching. Using the apostles own confession that they are not gods but mortal men, the Jews persuaded the people at Lystra that they were in fact sorcerers and that they had used sorcery to heal the crippled man. Convinced that Paul was a sorcerer they had Paul stoned and threw him out of the city thinking that he was dead. As the Christians gathered round him to prepare for his burial, Paul rose up and secretly went back into the city and the next day he and Barnabas departed for Derbe.
Paul talks of these attacks on his life in his Epistles. In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians he says: "Three times was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep," (11:25) and in his Second Epistle to Timothy he writes: "Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me." Paul met Timothy at Lystra together with his Mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois who became his followers but of these I will mention more in Chapter sixteen.
The Apostles preached the gospel in Derbe, and with the route they were taking, the next stop ahead would have been Paul's hometown of Tarsus, but they returned to the cities they had already been Lystra, Iconium and Antioch to strengthen the souls of the disciples they had converted exhorting them to continue in the faith and to teach them through their own sufferings that to enter the kingdom of God, they must go through much tribulation. In these towns they ordained Presbyters to carry on their work and continued on their return journey to Pisidia, Pamphylia and Perga where they had landed and then to the next coastal town of Attalia from where they sailed back to Seleucia making their way back to Antioch of Syria from where they began their apostolic mission. At Antioch the church came together and the apostles recounted to them all that God had done with them and how he had opened the door of faith to the gentiles. Both Paul and Barnabas remained at Antioch for a long period of time.
Chapter fifteen begins with the reason it was necessary for the gathering of the first Apostolic Synod. Certain men had come from Judea to Antioch and taught that unless they were circumcised after the manner of Moses they could not be saved. These men were probably of the Pharisaic Jews who had converted to the Christian faith but were still stuck in their views about the Mosaic Law. They insisted that the gentiles must first be circumcised and then baptized into the Christian faith. They had come to Antioch from Jerusalem claiming that they had been sent by the Apostles as their representatives. Hearing that Paul and Barnabas, on their mission had converted the gentiles without insisting on the Mosaic law, a big argument broke out between them, and because they couldn't reach a decision, it was decided that Paul and Barnabas should go with certain others to Jerusalem to ask the apostles and presbyters about the matter. So they set off for Jerusalem and on their journey they passed through Phenice and Samaria spreading the news of the conversion of the gentiles which caused great joy to the Christians there.
When they reached Jerusalem they were received by the church and by the apostles and presbyters and Paul and Barnabas declared to them all the things that God had done with them. But the Christians from the sect of the Pharisees who were among them rose up and demanded that it was necessary for the gentiles to be circumcised and that the apostles should command them to keep the Law of Moses.
With the dispute continuing the decision was taken to deal with the matter by calling together the first Apostolic Synod. Although the synod has come down to us as the Apostolic Synod, the majority of the Apostles were not present. From Paul's Epistle to the Galatians we know that Peter and John were present and also James the Lord's Brother, first bishop of Jerusalem. Also present were the presbyters and from verse 12 and 22 of this chapter we can take for granted that the meeting was open to the whole church.
The meeting began with a great amount of disputing, but then Peter rose up to speak. Having in mind the events that led to the baptism of the centurion Cornelius and his household which we saw in chapter ten, and which had become common knowledge in Jerusalem, Peter begins saying: "Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you tempt God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. Hearing Peter the multitude kept complete silence. Then Barnabas and Paul declared to the synod the miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

When they had finished, it was the turn of James the Lord's Brother to speak. As the bishop of Jerusalem and a strict observer of the Mosaic Law his opinion was considered of great importance. Men and brethren, listen unto me: Peter has told us how with the case of Cornelius which happened about ten years ago, God visited the gentiles and accepted them as his people. To this agree the words of the prophets as it is written by the prophet Amos: I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down and I will rebuild the ruins of it and set it up. With the tabernacle of David the prophet means the house of David and its descendants the Jewish nation which had began to morally fall apart during the time of the Messiah because of their subservience to the Romans. The rebuilding is its spiritual correction by Jesus Christ which will bring about spiritual descendants of David which are the Christians. The prophet continues: "That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." The residue of men are the non Jews, the gentiles who will believe in the Lord and call themselves after his name, in other words they will be called Christians and will belong to the Lord. As the Prophets speak the word of God James comes to the conclusion that the Prophet Amos and Peter are in agreement. He therefore offers a solution to solve the problem. He suggests that they do not burden the gentiles who have accepted the Lord with the Mosaic Law, but to write to them ordering them to observe certain things of the law which by not observing them would scandalize the Jewish Christians. The things James suggested was that the gentiles abstain from pollution of idols, from fornication, from things strangled and from blood.
All the great events in the lives of the gentiles, in other words those events which worshiped the false gods, ended with sacrificial offerings which were followed by meat eating dinners. Of the slaughtered animals only the feet and the intestines were burnt and the rest were eaten at the dinners or were sold at the market place. Many of the Christians who came from the ranks of the gentiles found it difficult to totally break away from their family and social relationships and often took part in the dinners. Many also bought the idol meats from the marketplace. For the Jewish Christians these meats were unclean and a cause for them to be scandalized when they saw the gentile Christians consuming them.
With the abstention from fornication James is referring to the idol festivals which often led to orgies, but can also mean any unlawful sexual behaviour. From things strangled refers again to animal meats with the blood still inside the animal which was forbidden to be eaten by the Jewish law and blood which is the same thing was not to be consumed because blood was considered the source of life and all life came from God, that is why with the Jewish sacrifices the blood was offered separately to God before the animal was offered as a burnt offering. In the places where this letter will be read there are Jewish Christians who hear Moses and the law every Sabbath but as they know the law they don't have need of these observances, but the gentile Christians who live in the same community need to observe them so that they do not scandalize the Jewish Christians who read the law. But James rejects the Jewish Christians' demand that the gentile Christians must be circumcised.
When James had finished his suggestion it pleased the apostles, the elders and all the church that was present and decided to send chosen men of their company who were well respected among the brethren to go with Paul and Barnabas back to Antioch with the letters. The men chosen were Judas called Barsabas and Silas. The letters written by the apostles stated: The apostles and elders and brethren send greetings unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, you must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment: It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have endangered their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
In summery the Apostolic Council decided that as God had put no difference between the Gentiles and themselves and had given them the gift of the Holy Spirit, then circumcision was not a necessity for salvation, but all who believe will be saved through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ. This Synod of the Apostles established the way for future synods in the Orthodox Church. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church where the Pope is infallible and has the last word, Peter who was probably the acting chairman of the synod did not say he had decided what was to be acceptable, neither did James the Lordís brother who was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, but all the Apostles and presbyters being of one accord said ďFor it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to usĒ (Acts 15:28). During their consultations the Holy Spirit was present and directed the thoughts of the members of the synod who sat and conversed as equals. This is how the Orthodox Church conducts her synods to this day. There is a Chairman but he does not make the decisions. All the bishops are equal whether they be Patriarch, Archbishop, Metropolitan, or just an assisting Bishop. The Apostolic Council dealt with other matters of Church life. We have in the Book called the Rudder, a collection of Church canon laws from all the Ecumenical Councils, some Local Councils and from certain individuals, also 85 canons supposedly From the Apostolic Councils. A great many must have originated from the Apostles, but others were probably added at a later date. They deal mainly with who can become a bishop, a priest or a deacon, how they should be ordained and for what reasons they should be deposed from office.
When Paul, Barnabas, Judas and Silas came to Antioch, they gathered the multitude together and delivered the letter which brought great joy to the gentiles. Judas and Silas remained with the brethren for a while helping them and supporting them and when they had done what they could they were released by the brethren to return to the apostles in Jerusalem, but Silas decided to remain in Antioch.
After some days Paul proposes to Barnabas for them to go again and visit the brethren in every city where they had preached the word of God and see how they had progressed. Barnabas agreed and desired to take his nephew Mark the Evangelist with them. But Paul was against Mark going with them, he had accompanied them on their first journey and when they had reached Pamphylia and saw the rugged and mountainous terrain he lost courage and returned to Jerusalem. For Paul this was an indication that he was not worthy of the missionary work that would be required of him and was adamant that he would not accompany them. But Barnabas was more sympathetic towards Mark because he was his uncle and knew him better that Paul. This led to Paul and Barnabas disputing heavily that they broke off their strong companionship and Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus and Paul took Silas and went through Syria and Cilicia. According to Paul's Epistles the dispute between them was temporary because he refers to Barnabas favourably in First Corinthians and Galatians as also of Mark in Colossians and Second to Timothy.
Chapter sixteen Paul and Silas come to Derbe and Lystra. At Lystra is a certain disciple named Timothy who became a disciple together with his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois during Paul's first visit to the city during his first missionary journey. His mother was by race a Jewess but his father whose name is unknown was a Greek. The Christians of Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of Timothy in spite of his young age: he was about twenty at the time. Paul wanted to take Timothy with him on his journey and so took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were there because they knew that his father was a Greek and did not allow for his son to be circumcised.
But what is happening here? Paul was the main activist for the gentiles not to be circumcised and the Apostolic Synod agreed with him and decided that the gentiles did not need to undergo this painful procedure to be saved. In Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, he tells us that when he and Barnabas went to Jerusalem for the Apostolic Synod, they took with them Titus who was a Greek and the fanatical Jewish Christians insisted that Titus should be circumcised, but Paul would not allow it, so why has Paul now circumcised Timothy? The Apostolic Synod released the gentile Christians from circumcision and the decision concerned only the gentile Christians because it was taken for granted that a Jewish Christian was already circumcised. Timothy had a Jewish mother and even though he was still uncircumcised the rabbis considered that he was Jewish. Also Timothy was not simply one of the many Christians; he was to become a preacher of the Christian faith together with Paul, preaching to the Jews. A Jew or half Jew uncircumcised and preaching to the Jews was an intense provocation for the Jews. On the other hand Titus was totally Greek and preached only to the gentiles.
So Paul, Silas and now Timothy in their company, continue the journey going to the other cities Paul had visited in his first journey Iconium and Antioch of Pisidia teaching the gentile Christians to observe the decrees ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. From there Paul probably wanted to go westwards towards the coastal towns of Asia, but for reasons we are not told, the Holy Spirit forbade them from going. Paul and his companions therefore turned north to Phrygia and parts of Galatia where we find Ancyra the present day Turkish capital. Whether during this journey they preached in these places is not sure; from the text it seems that they simply passed through and came to Mysia. From here they planned to go to Bithynia which is in the northern part of Turkey, but again the Spirit did not allow them and so passing by Mysia they came to Troas.
During the night in Troas, Paul has a vision of a Macedonian man beseeching him to come over to Macedonia and help them. Taking this as a calling from the Lord to go to Macedonia to preach the gospel there, Paul and his companion Silas and Timothy set sail and came first to the Island of Samothracia, and then to Neapolis. But from Troas there now seems to be another companion with them. If you remember when we first began our study of the Acts of the Apostles, I spoke to you about the author of the Acts - Luke the Evangelist. Up until this chapter Luke has recorded all the facts in the third person in the same way a historian would record certain facts. But now at Troas Luke suddenly switches to the first person saying: "loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis." This can only mean that Luke has now joined Paul's company and is among those travelling with him.
From Neapolis they went by foot to Philippi which is about eleven kilometres from Neapolis. Philippi is the capital city of Macedonia established by the king of Macedon, Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great. In 42 BC there was a battle at Philippi between Octavian and Mark Anthony against the assassins of Julius Caesar Brutus and Cassius where the latter fell. The city was colonised with veteran soldiers and when Octavian received the title Augustus from the Roman Senate it was renamed Colonia Augusta Iulia Philippensis. Philippi was a "miniature Rome," under the municipal law of Rome and governed by two military officers who were appointed directly from Rome. Up until now Paulís missionary work was concentrated in the Middle East and Asia Minor and this is the first time that Paul steps on European soil. We can say that it was the inauguration of the Continentís Christian era with Philippi being the first European city to receive the teaching of Christ.
The apostles stayed many days at Philippi. On the Sabbath day they went out of the city to the river side where because the Jews were few they didn't have a synagogue and considered this place as the place for prayer. Here they met certain women and they sat down and spoke with them. Among them was a woman called Lydia who sold purple cloth. She was called Lydia because she was from Thyatira in the Province of Lydia of Asia Minor. Lydia worshipped God and he opened her heart that she would pay attention to the things Paul was speaking of. She believed and was baptized together with all her household. After her baptism Lydia insisted that the apostles come and stay in her house.
On another day as the Apostles went to prayer at their usual time they were met by a young servant girl who was possessed with a spirit of divination. In the Greek the spirit of divination is called ďπνεῦμα πύθωνοςĒ in other words ďspirit of a python. So what has a python in common with foretelling the future? According to Greek mythology, Python was a serpent which protected the Delphi oracle and stood guard while the Sibyl (diviner) gave out her prophecies as she inhaled the trance inducing vapours from an open chasm. Apollo killed Python with his bow and arrows and took charge of the oracle. After killing Python and taking possession of the oracle, the god of light became known as "Pythian Apollo". He bestowed divine powers on one of the priestesses, and she became known as the "Pythia". It was she who inhaled the hallucinating vapours from the crack in the temple floor, while she sat on a tripod chewing laurel leaves. After she mumbled her answer, a male priest would translate it for the supplicant. Delphi became the most important oracle centre of Apollo.
The spirit which possessed the servant girl was in fact demonic and with her various and evasive answers she would satisfy the naÔve curiosity of many who wanted to know what would happen to them in the future. As it is today so also then, people had to pay a high price for their curiosity. The servant girl of Philippi became an object of exploitation from her owners. Urged on by the spirit that possessed her, the girl followed the apostles and shouted after them proclaiming that they were servants of the most high God. Her testimony reminds us of similar testimonies made by others possessed by demons concerning the person of Christ mentioned in the Gospels of Sts. Mark and Luke. The Lord as also here with St. Paul, always rejected their testimony and forbade them to confess and reveal who he was. The reason is given to us by St. John Chrysostom. He says: ďWhy did the demon say these things and why did Paul object? Because the demon did it out of wickedness while Paul out of wisdom and discretion: he didnít want the demon to appear as reliable. Because if Paul had accepted his testimony then the demon would be able to deceive many of the faithful having as an argument that even Paul accepts as the truth whatever I say.
The possessed girl pursued for many days to meet the Apostles and confess their special quality and mission. Paul, realizing that the wretched girl was a victim of demonic possession, was tiresome and annoyed by seeing the truth being proclaimed profanely from lips made to move by the evil spirit with the intention of taking advantage of the peopleís gullibility and thereby impairing the work of the Gospel. So calling upon the name of Jesus Christ, he turns to the girl and commands the unclean spirit to depart from her. Faced with the overwhelming power of the Lordís name, the spirit unable to oppose, leaves and sets free the wretched girl that very same hour.
The casting out of the divining spirit from the girl resulted in her not being able to practice her soothsaying art and as a consequence her owners losing the means of their moneymaking. Seeing that they had lost all hope of their earnings and that the Apostles were to blame, the men arrested Paul and Silas and dragged them to the market place before the rulers. In ancient times the market place was the main town square which was not only the place for moving merchandise but also the place where people gathered to hear public and political debates and also where court hearings were conducted. We know that with Paul were the apostles Silas, Timothy and Luke, but we see that only Paul and Silas were arrested. This is possibly because Luke and Timothy were not actually present when Paul cast out the demon or because they were Greeks and were given some respect.
Paul and Silas were brought before the Generals. The English text says that the Apostles were brought before the magistrates. In fact these men were more than just magistrates. In Greek the text reads ďκαὶ προσαγαγόντες αὐτοὺς τοῖς στρατηγοῖςĒ in other words they were brought before the Generals (in Latin Praetors). In Roman times these generals were high ranking officials who had both the civil and military authority so in this sense they were also magistrates.
The charges made against them by the servant girlís owners were that Paul and Silas were troublemaking Jews who caused a disorder in the city by preaching and teaching customs which were unacceptable to the Romans. Of course it is clear that the main reason for accusing the Apostles was not the public interests but the personal interests of the accusers which had been injured. In any case, with the accusation of causing a disturbance, it allows us to come to a conclusion that Paulís preaching to the Philippians had already found a significant response from the occupants of the city.
The accusation that the Apostles were Jews shows how much the Jews were hated that the Roman Emperor Claudius had them all expelled from Rome. (Acts 18.2) For the Romans the religions of other nations were tolerable and the gods of the lands they had conquered were protected, but it was forbidden to teach these strange deities among the Romans and especially to cause a public disturbance with the intention to proselytise. Neither was it permissible to the Romans to abandon their own religion and embrace other religions. This view is supported by the other accusation that these customs were unacceptable to Roman society. These customs concerned the Jewish way of life with different religious practices and especially circumcision which to the Romans was laughable. It is worth noting that no discernment is made between the Jew and the Christian. The Apostles were persecuted because they were Jews while at the same time we know how hostile the Jews also were towards them.
Having heard the public accusations against the Apostles, the Philippians who had gathered at the market place turned against them. This was a declaration of the hatred and aversion the Romans felt for the Jews. The treatment of the Apostles by the Generals was particularly harsh with the intent to disgrace. They tore off their clothes and ordered that they should be beaten with rods. The punishment of being beaten with rods, and especially in public, was considered dishonourable and was never given to Roman citizens. Paul, for reasons we donít understand, could have declared himself a Roman citizen which he was and escape the dishonourable treatment he received at the hands of the Philippians. When later writing to the Thessalonians, Paul hints at the things he suffered by the Philippians saying ďBut even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi.Ē (1 Thess. 2:2)
Without trying to show that he is an eyewitness to Paulís and Silasí suffering, Luke gives us details of their harsh treatment. They were beaten many times, they were imprisoned and the jailor was given strict instructions to personally guard them. Obeying the Generalsí orders, the jailor who in this case seems to have been in charge of the prison, places the Apostles in the inner prison, in other words the part of the prison which was reserved for the isolation of the worst criminals and from which escape was impossible. And for further security, had their feet locked in the wooden stocks.
At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the other prisoners heard them. The midnight prayer of the Apostles had an unexpected and alarming continuance. Quite out of the blue, a strong earthquake shakes the prison building from its foundation. All the doors were immediately opened and all the chains and stocks from every prisoner were loosed. In a certain way, the earthquake comes as an answer from God to Paulís and Silasí prayers; as an intervention by God who makes his presence perceptible and expressing his anger for all that has been done against his servants of the Gospel.
The great earthquake awoke the prison guard and the first thing he notices is that the prison doors were open and he is desperately concerned. The thought passes his mind that the prisoners had escaped and especially Paul and Silas whom he had been charged by the Generals to take special precautions for their confinement. The thought terrifies him because he knew only too well that in such a case he would be severely punished. He prefers to kill himself judging that suicide would be an honourable death compared with the humiliation of a trial and the sentence of death by execution. So having decided to put an end to his life he draws out his sword. It is clear that the jailer acts out of extreme fear without first verifying the thoughts that passed through his mind. He had just been shock woken from sleep and wasnít thinking with a clear head. Also at that hour it was completely dark which didnít allow the prisoners to make a fast escape even if they wanted to. Everything just happened so fast that even the other prisoners must have been in a state of shock.
Paul realizes what the jailer is about to do. Probably because his desperation was accompanied with cries or even because the door was open and Paul, who had been awake and his eyes had acclimatized to the darkness, could see the jailer from where he was. So seeing the knife in the jailers hand ready to commit suicide, Paul shouts in a loud voice to stop him from killing himself, reassuring him that no one had escaped and that they were all still there.
Paulís words stop the jailer from carrying out what he was about to do, but he is not completely convinced. So he asks for light probably from one of his servant who helped him at the jail and jumps into the cell to verify the situation with his own eyes. Sure enough the apostles and all the other prisoners were all there. This suddenly fills him with terror because he understood that the miracle happened for the sake of the two apostles. He was surprised by their courage because they could have escaped, but didnít and because Paul stopped him from putting an end to his life. Seeing this miracle, he remembers all the things for which they were accused Ė that they were preachers of an unknown and strange God. At that moment he is convinced that before him were two devout and loyal servants of a true God and is overwhelmed with awe and fear and falls at the feet of Paul and Silas. It is the great moment of grace and very shortly he will embrace the Christian faith.
After the moment of fear had passed, the jailer comes to and leads the Apostles out of the prison and using the title Sirs, which is an expression of the great respect he now had for the two apostles, he asks what he must do to be saved. To the jailerís question, the apostles immediately reply that a precondition for salvation is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, in other words, the recognition that Jesus is the one true Lord and God. By believing in Christ the Jailer would not only be saved but also his whole household. For the jailer to believe he had to be instructed in the new faith to know the word of the Lord, to know of his person and his work. The apostles therefore do not delay; they immediately set about teaching the jailer and all his household.
After hearing the Gospel of the Lord, the jailer took the apostles and washed their bodies which were covered in blood from the wounds that had opened during their beating. This act shows the love and the honour which the jailer now felt towards his teachers in the faith. After being instructed in the faith, the jailer and all the members of his house were baptised. All this probably happened in the courtyard of the jailer's house which was next to the prison. The jailer then led them into his house and set food before them rejoicing in his new found faith.
When it was day the Generals sent soldiers to the prison with the order that the prisoners should be set free. This sudden change probably came after the Generals considered that it wasn't lawful to have them imprisoned without a trial. The jailer told Paul of the Generals' decision and told him to depart and go in peace. But Paul sent his own message to the Generals saying: We are Roman citizens and you have beaten us in public and cast us into prison without a trial and now you want to secretly set us free. No chance! If you want us out of the prison then come yourselves and bring us out. Paul took this stand because he wanted their acquittal to be public just as their punishment was. Also because he wanted to make a statement that the first Christian sermon in Europe was not preached by some wandering vagrants but by Roman citizens who were unjustly treated. When the Generals heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens they were seized with fear as there would be consequence to pay if they took their claim directly to Rome. So the Generals came in person to the prison and pleaded with them to come out of the prison and to leave the city. The apostles agreed and came out of the prison and went to Lydia's house where they comforted and encouraged the brethren there and then departed for Thessalonica together with Timothy. Luke stayed behind because he stops speaking in the first person and returns to the third person until the twentieth chapter where he meets up with Paul again.