In Acts 16:16-40, the story goes that Paul sets a slave girl free of a demon (the power of Jesus can do that). The problem is this slave girls well-being ruins her owners’ business plan. They were doing very well profiting from her problems and trafficking on her trouble. And Paul was poking holes in their pocketbook.
Like a mob on a mission they drag Paul and his co-worker Silas to the marketplace to settle their grievance with the magistrate and the court of public opinion. People stop buying and selling to see what’s going on. Being the savvy business men they are, the owners accuse Paul and Silas of putting not only their well-being at risk, but the whole city’s well-being at risk too. They plead their case with compelling arguments and clever legal language. The crowd is sympathetic to their losses and cries out for justice. The magistrate has no choice but to judge in their favor. Paul and Silas is stripped, beaten, and incarcerated.
That day the Christian message shook the ground of Philipi. It wasn’t an easy-going domesticated message that played well with the values and concerns of moral or political preferences. It was a revolutionary, threatening, and unsettling message of liberation, but only for people who really wanted to be free.
That was then.
But it could be now. Christians have a choice to make. I pray we will make the right one.
(from Sunday’s message)