Outsiders are Watching


Have you ever witnessed someone respond well to a challenging life situation, and even express gratitude to God in the midst of it all? We tend to look at that person differently because of their attitude and behavior. We respect and admire them for their ability not to let their circumstances make them complain and seek vengeance for the wrong that has been done to them. They stand out and people take notice, especially outside observers. They want to know where that strength comes from, and that wisdom. And how Christians experience peace and joy through it all. It seems supernatural. They start to ask questions about what makes that person different, and where does their hope come from?

  • How can our response in a difficult situation make outsiders see Jesus in a life-changing way?


25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 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. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 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. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What were Paul and Silas doing around midnight in prison? Who all was listening to them?
  2. How did Paul and Silas respond to the earthquake and its effects? What does their response show about them?
  3. What was the jailer prepared to do because he assumed the prisoners had escaped? In what two ways did he respond to Paul’s cry?
  4. What did Paul say must be done in order to be saved? What do you think caused the jailer to respond the way he did?
  5. How do you typically respond to difficult circumstances? Do outsiders see your actions in those times as full of grace and integrity? What might make them see and seek Jesus as a result?


Paul and Silas could have escaped; they had been wrongfully imprisoned. But because of their attitude toward God, and their integrity, they remained. From what the jailer must have heard about these men, and from what he had just experienced of God’s actions and their responses, he was moved to ask the most important question of his life: “What must I do to be saved?” When Christians rely on God in trying times and respond to situations with integrity, outsiders watch and take notice. They are drawn to the mystery of peace and joy that is in us, and they want to know why we have faith. What a great opportunity to share the reason for our hope—Jesus, our Savior.

  • Ask God to give you a thankful heart, ready to praise God at all times, in all circumstances.
  • Pray for the outsiders in your life—that they see faithfulness and integrity in you, and as a result, hear and respond to the good news that belief in the Lord Jesus brings salvation.