Acts 16:40 (ESV) — 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.
I am grateful for Paul’s sensitivity in this moment. He is well aware that these new Believers might have been pretty shaken by how Paul and Silas had been treated. And it was vitally important for their growth and trust in Christ to see how Paul responded to these events.
Now while it was true that Paul called upon the local government to see the unlawful way they had been treated – he also refrained from prosecuting the case. This, legally, he might have done. But he does not stand upon his rights fully. He makes the offenders take notice of those rights, but then leaves the matter.
Note secondly how he apparently does not use this as an occasion to stir up the Believers against the government. He wants to encourage them, not enrage them. He has no higher motive than to see their souls affirmed in the faith, and no agenda to instead see them rallied against the lost.
Note 3rd how this coincides with his preaching and teaching as a whole in the Church. In Acts 14:21–22 we read: “When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”
It is a sad reality of our day that this vital message is not communicated to the saints along with the Gospel. And it is often obscured when we hide our tribulations from one another. The truth is, it IS through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And lest any of you today dear Christian grow discouraged because many tribulations of all sorts have in fact come your way. Let me encourage you. I face them too. All of God’s saints face them. This is not because something is particularly out of whack with you, but rather with the World itself. Don’t be thrown.
Trust in your Lord Jesus Christ. This is par for the course – even as we also know – the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Be encouraged. Our Lord reigns.