"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Paul and Silas
Acts 16:16-34 Commentary
by O. Wesley Allen Jr.
In Jesus’ first sermon, according to Luke, he reads from Isaiah announcing that he has been sent in part to “set the captives free” (Luke 4:18).
While surely that phrase means more than escape from prison, in Acts the Lukan author includes three prison escape miracles in which Jesus does indeed set captives free. In Acts 5:17-21, the apostles are arrested for performing healings in the temple, but the angel of the Lord opens the prison doors and sends them back to the temple to preach “the whole message about this life.” In Acts 12:1-11, Herod arrests Peter after killing James, but the angel of the Lord causes the chains to fall off Peter’s wrists and leads him out of the prison even though he had been sleeping between two guards.
And, then finally, there is Acts 16:16-34 concerning Paul and Silas in prison. In this story, however, there is a twist. As with the other two, Paul and Silas are arrested unjustly (verses 19-24). Even more than the other two, they are locked up securely, in the innermost cell of the jail and with their feet locked in stocks (verses 23-24). And as with the other two, those things keeping ...
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2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
2020-21 Worship Resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL317: Paul and Silas
April 22, 2018
Podcast on Acts 16:16-34, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Apr. 22, 2018, featuring Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Kathryn Schifferdecker, and Mark Throntveit. Podcast recorded at Luther Seminary, Saint Paul, Minn.