But Paul replied, “They have beaten us in public, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they going to discharge us in secret? Certainly not! Let them come and take us out themselves.” Acts 16:37
The magistrates probably were terrified by the earthquake and pronounce the end of Paul and Silas’ imprisonment, “Let those men go.” They want them to go away quietly and secretly. How different the magistrates demeanors from the day before when they had them beaten, locked in stocks, and were intent on those two miracle worker’s suffering bitterly.
The magistrate’s plans have gone array and Jesus takes the victory over hate. Our Lord’s work is rarely done in secret, though our prayers and giving may be so, and Paul assuredly knows this. Paul’s faith in Christ directs the community of unbelievers to acknowledge the unjust beatings which have taken place. Rarely does Paul use his citizenship as a Roman to promote his defense yet he does so now in order to call the magistrates to task.
In chapter 16 of Acts Paul and Silas have shown us both how to lead someone to the Lord (the jailer and his household) and how to stand up in faith during unjust treatment (here). When Paul’s words here are reported back to the magistrates then these Apostles are kindly escorted to where they would like to go in Philippi– to Lydia’s home.
At Lydia’s they are most welcome, Christ’s victory over hate is celebrated, and their prayers and praises abound with thanksgiving. Love is in her Christian home and Christ heals Paul and Silas to continue on their second missionary journey. This is our example of how to be unafraid in Christ when hate confronts us.