Acts 16:19-40

And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city.

Sermon Transcript:

Good morning everybody. Invite you to take your Bibles to the Book of Acts, chapter 16. Gonna be continuing our series here, the Spirit at Work to the Ends of the Earth, acts 16. We’re gonna look at verse 19 down through verse 40, the end of the chapter as we look at another individual in this three person story that we find in Acts chapter 16.

Acts chapter 16. I’m gonna read verse 19 and following. And we’re talking now about the slave girl we heard about last week, but when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul in Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, these men are Jews and they are disturbing our city.

They advocate customs that are not lawful us as Romans to accept or practice. The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely.

Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them and suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken.

And immediately all the doors were open and everyone’s bonds were unfed. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, did not harm yourself, but we’re all here. The jailer called for lights and rushed in and trembling with fury fell down before Paul and Silas.

Then he brought them out and said, SIRS, what must I do to be saved? And they said, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you’ll be saved, you and your household. And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once.

He and all his family. . Then he brought them up into the house and set before the food before them, and rejoiced along with his entire household that had, he had believed in God. But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police saying, let those men go. And the jailer reported these words to Paul saying, the magistrates have sent to let you go, therefore come out now and go in peace.

But Paul said to them, they’ve beaten us publicly, uncon condemned men who are Roman citizens and have thrown us into prison, and do they now throw us out secretly? No. Let them come themselves and take us out. The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens.

So they came and apologized to them, and they took them out and asked them to leave the city. So they went outta the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed. Let’s pray.

Lord, I thank you for this story. I thank you for this entire set of stories and the lessons that we can learn there about the gospel. Lord, I pray that you would speak into us. We come with such a variety of needs and struggles and weights that are being carried into this room and by those online, God, we ask Your word would be our teacher through your spirit today.

In Jesus’ name, amen. We were flying to South America a number of years ago, and it was the first time I had ever seen one of these location guide. On, on the flight. It’s an 18 hour flight where we were going to Durban, South Africa actually we’re flying into Johannesburg and they had on the wall a couple of big monitors and there you could, you know, you could track the flight as it goes across the ocean.

And then you come down the coast of Africa and, and we were following our way along. It showed where we were on the journey. We’re giving a location guide of the Apostle Paul. That’s why we keep throwing maps at you. Now. I hope it does not have the impact on you that it had on me. When I was watching the location guide.

My real reason to watch the location guide was to see how much father I had till this interminable trip was over. I hope that’s not how you view in this series, but as you look at it, where we’ve come is Paul, on the second missionary journey, has traveled all through. Area called Asia, which actually is modern day Turkey.

They’re crossing over the agency and they’ve now gone into that area, which is called Trace, which is up at the top, and basically that is a part of the whole land block called Greece. Today, they had gone to a city called Minneapolis and then had traveled by foot about 10 miles into the city of Philippi as they, as they have arrived there.

We were introduced last Sunday to two females that are actually being used by Luke to tell us the story of the founding of the church. This whole chapter, actually, as commentators are quick to point out, is basically not only the start of the church at Philippi, a church that Paul deeply loved as is reflected in the letter he wrote to them and the things he says about them.

But it is a, it is a. Accounting of the starting of a church that is told by telling the stories of three individuals coming to Christ Lydia, a wealthy cosmopolitan owner of a high-end boutique, providing expensive garments to the monied crowd of her city. She represents those who are empowered. She had wealth, business success, the right connections We see a second individual, the unnamed girl, the 10 to 14 year old slave girl who is the powerless, a slave used for what her masters wanted, what she could provide for them.

She has no voice of her own in her culture. And third, we come to a guy the jailer. A blue collar ex-military guy will see why I say that in a moment. The jailer, the warden, he represents those who are power wielding. Three different people. We looked at the first two last time, and what I planned to do this morning is to talk about the third one, this jailer, and then at the end to draw three, uh, lessons that we learned from the lives of all three of these people.

But we look today at this, this jailer, this charter member of the church at Philippi, and we find we’re gonna follow the same outline we did last time with the, the, the females, who they were, how they came to Christ. And what happened to them. First of all, who he was. He’s a jailer. Now, again, I’ve mentioned to you that city of Philippi was a, a, uh, was designed to be and was formed by the Romans in 42 BC in particular, to be a place where military veterans from the Roman armies would come.

They were given citizenship, there was where they were taken care of. This town is a military town. It is full of military folks, retired military, retired military. People in Philippi tended to if they were young enough to still work to get a civil service job. There’s every reason to believe this. Jailer is a former military guy also.

It’s hard to imagine a city like Philippi that is filled with so many tough military types and most of the mis Koreans that you’re gonna have thrown into the local jail didn’t have a military guy that was the jailer. He’s a tough guy, Paul and Silas. Are beaten to a pulp. In the earlier verses we read this morning, we read phrases like this.

The garments were tore off them. Literally, it means they were ripped off. They were the, there were orders to beat them with rods. They were inflicted with many blows upon them, and then they threw them bodily into prison. These guys went to prison into this jailer’s prison with lacerated backs, with bruised bodies, and they’re thrown in here.

And this guy shows no compassion. He doesn’t wash their wounds. He doesn’t try to say, man, you guys have just nothing. He just throws ’em in. As a matter of fact, what we see he does is the, they say, watch these guys in particular. So what he does is he puts them into the maximum security cell. It says he put them into the center cell, the cell with no windows, the cell utterly surrounded by everything else.

And on top of that, he throws them into stocks. Now, when we think of stocks, we think of Williamsburg, Virginia or Plymouth Mass, where you know, you get in and you get the family photos and the family picks. But the stocks that were used here and a prison were known for the fact that they had multiple holes for you to put your hands and your feet in order that they could stretch you in.

Uh, difficult circumstance, difficult positions. It was designed to be uncomfortable. Imagine your back lacerated, your body bruised. You’re twisted and contorted, and this is the place that they are put this guy is, is is basically, uh, heaping it on them as he puts them into the jail. He’s not looking for spiritual input.

He’s not asking questions. He’s not, there’s no conversation. The only relationship that Paul and Silas have with this guy at the start is the silent one, where they are utterly beat up by the town. And now our military jailer friend, how the gospel came to him. Well, we see what he saw. What he saw, first of all was two men who in the face of suffering had peace and.

The term, the, the, the term used in verse 25 is they were praying and singing hymns. They weren’t gonna sleep. You can imagined the physical discomfort. This is not, this is not a jail where you took a, a, a good night’s rest. They’re in potential agony, certainly discomfort. But they used the opportunity not to do what was so common in this part of the world, which is people were very outspoken with their emotions.

They, they, they lament, they lent loudly. They, they complain. Sure. There were lots of voices in the prison like that. And these guys are singing, they are worshiping, they are praying. He says they were praying and singing. It’s utterly contrary. And it says all the prison are listening in as these guys are, are, are, are praying to the Lord as they are, as they are worshiping God.

They did what? Some of you have learned to do in the night seasons when you’re awake and it’s discomforting, you can’t sleep. You have two options. You can worry, I’m not getting any sleep, I’m just, I’m getting more worked up. I’m just gonna be tired tomorrow. I got all this on my mind. There’s so much you can worry or you can worship.

They chose worship and it impacted this jailer. He’s listening to these guys. He hasn’t had prisoners that are praising God in prison after what they have just experienced and what he is doing to them now. Secondly, what he saw was that in the face of cruelty, these guys manifested kindness and forgiveness.

What happens is there, there’s an earthquake. And it’s such a tumultuous earthquake that literally the jail jail’s, doors are thrown off, they’re hinges and are opened that it says somehow even the, the, uh, bonds, the, the metal changed bracelets and, and, uh, ankle pieces are broken loose and the jailer wakes up.

And whether he has a house next door or he actually is staying in the prison, he comes in and he sees the doors are open. Maybe he runs into some prisoners and sees they’re running around, they’re manacle free. And he realizes this is all on his watch. Whether or not he’s going to lose his life for such a, a, uh, failure of duty because people escape under his watch or he’s just gonna face the humiliation.

This is a shame honor culture. And he decides he’d be furs to take his life. So he gets out the sword. He’s about to kill himself. And Paul and Barn, Paul and Silas Paul in particular, hollers out. Do not harm yourself. We’re all here. Apparently they could have been gone, whether Paul and Silas talked the rest of the people in disdain, but certainly they chose to wait.

They’re freed. They’re out of the they’re, they’re out of there in bondage. The doors are open. Says, don’t harm yourself. I’m sure this guy’s thinking, why are you looking out for me, ? I mean, you’re in those stocks. You’re in this inner cell because of me and Paul responds, don’t harm yourself. We’re here.

It’s gonna be okay. Nobody’s left and nobody’s going. The response he’s watching, he’s seeing something he doesn’t understand. They’ve responded to his cruelty with kindness. They’re responding with a forgiveness he does not understand. 2006, many of you know the story of the Amish schoolhouse over in Lancaster County where a young man who had lost a daughter and was him bittered, that his, his child had been born.

He actually had three other kids, but his daughter had died in childbirth and he couldn’t get over it, and he just wanted to take it out on somebody. So he went to an Amish school among, with Amish families that he actually did deliveries to. And he came in and his plan was to molest and abuse the girls and then killed him.

He wasn’t able to get to that, the molesting part because the police were called quick enough, but not before he had shot 10 of them, five of them died. But the real shocking outgrowth of the story. Beyond even the horror of the tragedy was the response of the Amish community. There was a almost instantaneous spirit of forgiveness.

As a matter of fact, the next day, leaders of that particular Amish community, including family members of the children that had been killed, went to the home of the parents of the young man, had had killed their daughters and said, we are here for you. We are both grieving the loss of our children. It made no sense.

It may not make sense to you listening. It’s hard for us to wrap our arms around this in 2010. Three people with PhDs from three different universities who were, uh, many years, scholars of the Amish people did a, did research in this particular event and the aftermath of it, and they actually wrote a book, and this is the book, Amish Grace, I commend it to you for reading.

It is a book that basically they were presenting the, the foundation of Amish belief that prompted them to forgive. The astonishing thing you’ll find in the book, which I didn’t expect, is that there’s a whole section of the book that is presenting many different examples of this similar type of expression, but the mo of the, of the Amish people, forgiving people that have done.

That have perpetrated evils that have been drunk, drivers that have killed him. And the, the, it’s a practice. And the striking thing is that they did multi-year studies where they would say to people, you know, you, your, your instantaneous emotional response was to go to these people. Like they went to the, the wife of the young man that killed the girls,

and they asked permission to come to her funeral for her husband. And she’s there with her three small children. And they said that over half of the people that attended the funeral were Amish. Most of them, the parents of the children. And so they, they, they read of these things and these guys thought, okay, is this real or is this just an emotional?

So they, they actually, in these studies, take them years later and say, now as you look back, now as you’ve dealt with the loss, how do you feel? And it’s astonishing to hear them telling a story. No, we forgive. So basically the book is an analysis of where does this come from, that you could forgive this way as as a normal practice of your experience.

And they came up. I’m summarizing now three particular things that they believe as a people group that are the foundation. For forgiving others, I’d like to tell you them real quick, and these are gonna, some of it’s just gonna be in my own words, my own summaries. Number one, the Amish believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross and died forgiving as murderers, as a result.

To be a Christian is to have that at the very center of your life. There’s no other religion in the world that has a man dying for his enemies as the central principle of faith. They summarize that because of that. This is the, the, the, the authors summarize that the, that is the first reason why these people that they embrace and they go all the way back to the Anna Baptist and the 15 hundreds and talk about where the Amish came from, which I didn’t know was actually a guy.

I think his name was Jacob, a Amer, and, and the whole story, the second thing they found was that the Amish believe in the sovereignty of God. That they really hold the fact that God is the giver of life and, and that God has individuals. He, he controls both life and death ultimately, and that ultimately nobody chooses the times of the seasons.

Then this in their sense, there is a sense of which their children lived a full life. I’m just gonna say a sidebar here. This particular belief for me when my young boy drowned was central to doing life, to live with the fact that he had not lived his full life, but that we had robbed him by not protecting him was, was overwhelmingly fathomless.

But God brought us back to Mark Seth. He has lived his full life. I declare the end from the beginning, they were able to say, you know, they didn’t do what we all do when something’s done. When a child is killed or an individual’s killed, our immediate thought is, you robbed him. Of all those years, you robbed us of what we would’ve had.

The Amish have built into the theology apparently, that God was super intending. They believe in the sovereignty of God. And the third thing, they believe that forgiveness is an act of self renunciation. You renounce your right for payback. You’re saying for the sake of God and for the sake of other people, I am not going to pay back.

I forgive. The author said that this is alien to our culture, which does not value self renunciation, but rather. Values self-assertion. It’s about my freedom. It’s about my rights. But they said they embrace the concept of Jesus, that we don’t have rights. We have yielded them to him. That there is beauty in self renunciation and self denial.

In the place of asserting myself, I’m gonna read a statement they made. The author said this, the Christian believes that the meaning of life is to deny yourself, renounce your claims to your rights, give up your claims for yourself, and seek to serve God and others. I deny myself for other people, they said our culture of self aser assertion is if you are wronged, the response is to seek revenge.

But in the counterculture of self renunciation, when you are harmed. The response in the power of Christ is to forgive. Now, you may be out there thinking that is impossible, and I’m gonna say this to you. You are 100% correct. You can live that way. But Jesus did, and Jesus is willing to live that way through you.

And the the stunning picture that went worldwide of the aftermath of this violent, horrible death of those children was of a community that had embraced centrally forgiveness. This is what is happening in this jail cell and this prison in Philippi. This guy is looking and. Why are they responding to cruelty with kindness?

Why are they forgiving me for what I did to them and others have done to them? And there was no explanation apart from something he had never experienced before. With we find what he realized. The jailer knows they have something he doesn’t have. They have a resource that he has never tapped into. He humbles himself and asks, verse 30, what must I do to be saved?

Now I want you to address this for a second. There’s two wrong ways of looking at this. I don’t think this means that this guy was ready at an evangelistic meeting. And he says, I get it. I get all, and he’s tried to all the theology, you know, he doesn’t know the gospel. He hasn’t heard the gospel. But what he does know, I’ll come back to that.

So I don’t think this is that he’s coming with a full understanding of salvation. I don’t think he even knows what the word salvation means. But I also don’t go the other side, which I’ve read a couple of people, right? Which is to say there is no spiritual aspect to this. In other words, he’s saying, well, when he says, um, what I do this be saved, he means rescued and basically saying, what do I need to do to get out of this mess I’m in?

To which I would reply, what mess? Nobody’s gone. I mean, this guy in the midst of an earthquake has been able to keep all his prisoners. This is magnificently successful. There’s no mess. He’s saying, how do I get rescued from this? No, he’s in great shape. He’s gonna be commended. Nobody’s gone, even though their bonds are off and the doors are open, somehow this jailer has kept all these guys in tow, he’s up for a promotion.

So he’s not saying, how do I get out of this mess? Oh, he’s saying this. I’m powerless to act. With the power I’m seeing in this jail, I’m powerless to, to live with the reality that with a, in the face of a power that I am seeing, here’s the power. It’s a power that causes these prisoners in the face of suffering to be singing and praising their God.

There’s an earthquake that all of a sudden just has to happen, happen to happen when these guys show up. And third, I have prisoners that I’ve mistreated, disdain, cared nothing for. And they’re looking out for me with the compassion and forgiveness and kindness. I don’t understand. He realizes, guys, I need what you have.

In this sense, I need rescuing. I need embrace, embracing something what you are representing. And the third thing we find is what he did. Paul says in verse six, verse 31, man, you need to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ that will bring you the real deliverance. Basically, he’s saying, you don’t need to do anything.

You hear what he’s saying? I mean, this is a tough guy, former military. What do we need to do? He says, nothing about doing, it’s about looking. It’s about turning to, it’s about embracing and accepting. I’ve told this story before, but it’s a great one from church history. Young man named Charles Spurgeon, late in his teenage years, couldn’t get to church one Sunday, and he actually was not a believer at the time.

He’d sort of been dabbling, trying to figure out what was true, what was not true in the midst of a violent snowstorm in London, he couldn’t get through. And so for shelter, actually, he went into what he, what it was known as a primitive Methodist church that was, uh, uh, a speaker that was speaking. It was not pastor couldn’t get in.

And this guy who was not a trained speaker, stands up and, and begins to talk to the about a dozen people. Peron Spurgeon said, were there. And this guy gets up there in the pulpit and, and he talk, and Spurgeon talks about his accent. And you know, it, it obviously, uh, uh, a blue collar guy that wasn’t used to public speaking.

And he, and he chose his text. Isaiah 45 verse 22. In which the text says this, look unto me and be saved all the ends of the earth for I am God and there’s none else. In Spurgeon’s autobiography, he records his reaction. Here’s what he said. He had not much to say, thank God for that. Compelled him to keep on repeating his text, and there was nothing needed by me at any rate, except his text.

Then stopping, he pointed to where I was sitting under the gallery and he said, that young man there looks very miserable. And he shouted as I think only a primitive Methodist can look. Look young man, look Now. Then I had this vision, not a vision to my eyes, but to my heart. I saw what a savior Christ was.

Now, I never can tell you how it was, but I know I, I no sooner saw whom I was to believe than I also understood what it was to believe. and I did believe in one moment I looked and looked until I had almost looked my eyes away. Then he says, and as the snow fell on my road home from the little house of prayer, I thought every snowflake talked with me and told of the pardon I had found for I was white as the driven throw snow through the grace of God, this jailer looked, he turned to Christ and he said, I realize Jesus came to die for people like me that the power that these men represent is not their power.

There is a power that has been brought into their lives as they have leaned into it and the power of Jesus Christ. So what did the Gospel do in this guy’s life? Well, as we continue in our text, I would suggest there are three marks that were true here, that are true of anyone who is converted by the real gospel.

Number one. It made him a compassionate man. Verse 33, he does start this tough guy. All of a sudden now is cleaning the wounds of Paul and Silas. Secondly, it made him committed to ministry and community. He was baptized and he shared it with others. See, Christianity is personal, but it’s not private. It’s intimate, but it’s not individualistic.

People you love about, you want to know, and you also find that you are drawn to do life in Christian community when you really have embraced the living Christ. And the third thing, it makes you have joy, verse 34. And he rejoiced along with his whole household that he believed. Three lessons I want to give from this chapter as we take the stories of these three individuals and just wanna summarize with this, act 16 tells us about three people, an empowered businesswoman, a powerless slave girl, a power wielding jailer.

We learned three things. Number one, we learned the gospel is for everyone. Well, we might say everyone needs the gospel. There’s no Christian type. Look at the variety of people we have racially here, if we can, I think, do we have a slide here on this? Thank you. Racially, there’s an Asian, there’s a Greek, there’s a Roman.

Secondly, economically, there’s a person from the upper class, the lower class, the middle class. Socially, there’s an insider. There’s a person absolutely rejected, and there’s a person from the mainstream spiritually. There’s a woman that’s open. There’s a girl that’s demonically hostile and the guy that seems utterly indifferent.

I think God chose these stories to say the gospel isn’t for certain types of people, it’s for everyone. It’s, it’s for people that have done all kinds of different things. It is grace from first to last, and this grace is deep enough to plumb any depths of sins that we have done. Those find forgiveness in the power of Christ.

Secondly, the gospel is the single mus most unifying power in the universe. The very last verse here in verse 40, let me just read it to you. The end of this is a sequel to the story. Paul’s leaving the town with Silas soon after this. But first they went out of the prison and visited Lydia, and when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

You notice the church now has included some guys. Certainly. One is the jailer. There are men now that are a part of this. There are brothers in the community. Tim Keller points out something, and I actually did some research on it and was fascinated to find that even today, this is true in Orthodox Judaism, there is a prayer that Jewish men are encouraged to pray every morning, oh Lord, I thank you that you did not make me a woman, a slave, or a gentile.

Now their perspective, And I want to, I want to be fair on this is their perspective is it is supposed to add to men the sense of responsibility that, God, you have called me to this, but this doesn’t ring real well as we listen to it. I thank God that you did not make me a woman, a slave, or a Gentile. I have the better social class I have, the better gender, I have the better religion and race.

Who do we have here in Act 16? A woman, a slave, and a gentile. The gospels for everybody unequal footing. Everybody is embraced in grace. The third thing we find the gospel is true freedom.

I’m sure you picked up on this Roman citizen thing here, and with this I’m gonna wrap. Paul would have had a certificate that he carried with him. It was common for Roman citizens to have, just for misunderstandings like this, or to get into spas and baths that you could only do as a Roman citizen places to stay.

And it recognized that he was an actual Roman citizen and honored that he had been born into, because of a, a fairly affluent and influential background. The question is, why didn’t Paul get that baby out when they arrested him? Oh, when they were talking about, you know, it talks about they were beaten with rod’s.

This was actually a, a wrapped, uh, thing, a, a packet of some type that they carried around. They were pretty heavy rods about an InStick or, or actually bigger than that. And they would, they would use them to just beach on the back. I mean, this was, it was like the, you know, the, the cops that would carry a, a mallet, I don’t remember what it’s called, some kind of a club.

What is it? Night? A Night. Ick. I should have known that. Thank you, . That’s what they had. Only they had a bunch of ’em, and they, and, and this is what he is getting beaten with. And when they started to pull those babies out, Paul could have said, Hey, let me wait just a minute here. My wallet, I got this. But he didn’t do that.

Why didn’t he do that? And then he does do it later. Well, why he do it later? I mean, it’s kind of too late. You’ve been beat to a pulp. You’ve been in the stocks. You, you could have done it to the jailer at least. Hey, you know, while I’m sitting here, I can’t really do much, but could you just give my back pocket here, pull out the wallet and take a look at, you know that little thing there with my picture, Roman citizen Whyy.

Wait. Fred, a lot of explanations for this. The one i I embraced the most, that makes the most sense to me. I don’t think it was just too confusing and he didn’t get a chance to tell him. I think it was a strategy of Paul. Paul saw the hostility of Philippi and it was intense. You could see how they, they cited not compassionately with the slave girl that he has helped they side with the owners.

They, they, they, they are hostile to Paul and hostile to his Jewish heritage and to this whole thing. He’s representing. I think Paul was using strategic planning here. He knew that there would be prejudice and persecution. He did not use his card as a, as a get outta jail free. Most of the people there that would be a part of the fledgling church aren’t gonna have such a card.

He is willing to take on this. Difficult hardship and embrace it as a follow of Christ. First of all, to say, uh, uh, our way of dealing with this as believers is different, but I also think he was choosing his moment. He’s trying to rattle the magistrates by saying it later. Maybe he’s trying to buy space for his disciples and days to come.

Don’t be hasty in going after these people. Remember what happened the last time and how you were in danger before. If this guy has put the case, you’re in trouble. If you’ve done the, it was illegal to, to treat, it was illegal to, um, hit with rod’s, Roman citizens. There were certain things you just couldn’t do.

What we do know is to Paul, being a free Roman citizen was not his identity, his identity.

As a Roman citizen was only to use it to serve others. His real identity was who he was in Christ. It enabled him when he was in chains and stocks to be singing when he’d lost wealth and position and liberty, he was free. If the greatest hope you have in your life is your relationships or your career, or your health, or your success, or even your capacity to be independent, you serve it.

Ultimately, you are a prisoner to that reality, to something. You can lose

Paul’s identity. Was to embrace something and build his life around something and make the hope of his life something and someone he could never lose. The Christ of the gospel in prison, Paul was free and he reminds us that the ultimate freedom is found in Christ. Let’s pray together. Lord,

we love stories, love these stories, and all of us can identify a little more with one or another of these people, but we most of all wanna em identify with the one who brought freedom and life and hope to each one. Lord, thank you for the gospel. Thank you for coming after us with the gospel. Thank you for the power of the gospel in our lives that enables us to sing in the midst of suffering, to worship as a replacement for worry that enables us to forgive when we’ve been wronged.

Lord, thank you for these stories and the one to whom they point us in whose name I pray? Amen. Now go in peace to love and serve and enjoy the Lord.