And from there to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony…
I. ACCEPTING CHRIST (vers. 14, 15). It is well to note —
1. Who this convert was.
(1) She was a woman of business. Her perceptions had been sharpened by trade. She was free from the bondage of local prejudice.
(2) She was from Thyatira, a city of "Asia," in which district the missionaries had been forbidden to speak the Word. When the Holy Spirit shuts the door in one place, it may be that He intends to reach it by the way of another.
(3) She was a Jewish proselyte. She had learned to worship the true God. Having made that much progress, she was prepared to go still further — much more prepared than the Jews themselves.
2. How she was converted. "Whose heart the Lord opened," etc., Paul spoke the Word, but the Lord gave the Word fruitfulness. "I planted, Apollos watered; God gave the increase."
3. How her conversion was shown.
(1) Her whole family was converted with her. Through her faith, her servants, and her children, if she had children, were brought into the kingdom of Christ.
(2) She constrained the missionaries to abide with her, which was no small burden. Paul, Timothy, Silas, and Luke made quite a party to take care of. And note how she puts her request. She makes it appear as though they were doing her a favour, rather than she them. They had done so much for her soul that she wanted to do something for their bodies.
II. SAVED THROUGH CHRIST. We turn from one who was ready to accept Christ to one who was in the power of Satan. But the power of Christ was shown in the one ease as in the other. The Lord opened the heart of the one, cast out the evil spirit from the other.
1. The evil spirit in possession.
(1) Bringing gain. The unfortunate girl was owned by a joint-stock company. Her owners speculated in the credulity of men. Her insane ravings were taken as the revelation of an oracle.
(2) Bringing reproach. "The same following after Paul and us, cried," etc. This she did for many days. The testimony which she bore was the same as that of the evil spirits to the Saviour. The witness was true, but it was not from a good source.
2. The evil spirit cast out.
(1) Why? "Paul being sore troubled," etc. At what? Presumably at the character of the endorsement he and his friends were receiving. With this, however, there may have been a great sympathy for the poor girl.
(2) How? "I charge thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." The act was done in such a way as to show the faith of Paul in Christ, his dependence upon Christ, and as to honour Christ. Those who witnessed the miracle could not have any doubt as to the power through which the marvel was accomplished.
III. SUFFERING FOR CHRIST.
1. The anger of the masters.
(1) How it arose. "Her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone." The maid now spoke rationally, instead of raving, or giving wild, weird utterances that made people think that they were listening to something supernatural. Now no one would pay anything to hear the girl speak good sense. It did not matter to them that the maid was released from a most cruel thraldom. Let a drunkard burst his bonds, and what rum seller will rejoice over his deliverance? Let a gambler throw off the terrible fascination, and how angry are those whom he has been enriching.
(2) How it was manifested.
(a) "They laid hold on Paul and Silas," etc. The dragging, we may be sure, was not gently done.
(b) "They said, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city," etc. The formal complaint did not correspond to the offence. They knew that the magistrates could take no cognisance of such an injury as they had received. They craftily word their complaint. They appeal to the Roman prejudice against the Jews.
2. The anger of the magistrates. The multitude became a mob, and the magistrates not much better. No form of a trial was even pretended. Against these Jews, the accusation of such respectable, dividend-receiving citizens was taken as conclusive evidence. Judgment and sentence were instantaneous.
(1) The missionaries were beaten "with many stripes," more cruelly than if they had been committing a crime.
(2) They were cast into the "inner prison," and their feet made fast in the stocks. What land is there where a similar heroic record has not been made?
(M. C. Hazard.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
WEB: and from there to Philippi, which is a city of Macedonia, the foremost of the district, a Roman colony. We were staying some days in this city.