Acts 16:16-34

Paul and Silas were on their way to a place to pray. As they walked through the city streets of Philippi they encountered life. As they approached a place of prayer they saw a group of women sitting outside of the place of prayer. In those days women were not allowed inside. So, they sat down and started to share Jesus. One woman, Lydia, a business woman in fine cloths listened. She was so moved that she invited them to her house. One would say that she was finally free. But then again, she was a women in a man’s world. She was a business woman when that was not even a place of respect. One would say that she was a slave to society and social norms. Then she heard about Jesus.

As Paul and Silas, again were walking to a place of worship. They were walking through the streets and on this day a crazy woman continued to follow behind them and calling them out. In todays terms one might diagnoses her as being a paranoid schizophrenic. Often people with mental illness have the insight to see the demons in others. This crazy woman was so annoying to Paul that he turned and freed her of her illness in the name of Jesus.  One would say that she was finally free. But then again, she lost her support. The men that were using her to see the demons in others, lost their side show. Their income was gone. The support that they provided to the woman as harsh as it may have been was not gone. She was healed, but she was alone.

The men were so angry at Paul and Silas that they had them jailed. Not only were they put in jail but you could say that they were so restrained that they could not move. One would say that they were prisoners. They began to sing and praise God. A earthquake occurred and the jail doors opened and the walls came down. The guard, picked up his sword and was about to do the honorable act and kill himself. Paul called out and said they were safe and have not left.

There is freedom and then there is freedom. In a society where we are free to move around, vote for who ever we want, where we can go to public worship and hear the Word of God proclaimed. And we are slaves to culture and society. We live in a country where 60% of the population are unchurched. They do not attend worship. They do not study scripture. We often see ourselves as free when we are actually slaves.

A relationship with Jesus is the only true freedom. Your choice. Be careful if you think that you are free.