Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. Acts 16:26
Prison. What comes to your mind when you hear that word? Do you think of criminals, deserving of being in prison? Do you think of the innocent wasting away in prison? Do you think of yourself? I did. The sins of my past were my prison. Satan was my jailor. He used every anxious thought he could to keep me there. Mostly, though, he used fear. One of his mightiest weapons, it was the lock on my cell.
What a scene it must have been in that prison described in the Scripture above. The earth rattles, the foundation shakes, all the doors were opened and EVERYONE’S chains were loosed. We get no specifics on what all the prisoners were there for. We are just told that ALL of them were set free. Wow!
In the first words preached by Jesus in the Synagogue from Isaiah 61:3, He tells us what He came to do. Listed among them is this: …to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. Jesus, Himself, declares that He came to set those of us held hostage by Satan, free. He is our Ransom. It is He and He alone who will send an “earthquake” in our lives so that the foundations are rocked and the cell doors are flung open wide. Then He drops our shackles, and we are indeed liberated, bound no more.
Can you hear Him proclaiming, “FREEDOM!” as He sees us run out of our prison cell toward Him and His everlasting mercy and love? Do you see Him beaming as He watches us throw those chains aside and join our fellow captives in adoration and worship to Him? Fear no longer imprisons us. It’s left behind in the pile of shackles. We become effective witnesses to His amazing grace.
Ransomed. Rescued. Redeemed. It’s the unmerited gift we have been given and the Hope we can share with others. And in the process it may be good to think about the words in the Steven Curtis Chapman song “Remember Your Chains” which say,
Remember your chains
Remember the prison that once held you
Before the love of God broke through
Remember the place you were without grace
When you see where you are now
Remember your chains
And remember your chains are gone
Carol is on staff with the Partner Care team at America’s Keswick. She, and her best friend Mario, have been married for 35 years. They have 2 sons and 2 daughters-in-law that they call their “BFFs”. They also have 7 precious gems called grandchildren. Her family has savored many memories of the heart made at Keswick over the last 35+ years and she is thrilled to now be serving on staff!
Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. Malachi 3:16