He and all his household were baptized.
— Acts 16:33
Not long ago I found myself detained in a police station, in a country not my own. My offense? Taking a U-turn while driving and, as the police officer put it, “obstructing traffic” (which was not true). I prayed lots of silent (but angry) prayers that day—and eventually God sent a “good Samaritan” (a newspaper reporter) who helped me post bail so that I could go home. Paul and Silas found themselves unjustly detained. But their situation was much different. They had been sharing the message of Jesus and were falsely accused of causing an uproar, so they were beaten and thrown in jail (Acts 16:1624). In prison they prayed, and they sang hymns to God while the other prisoners listened. They had a deep confidence (faith) that God could use even their misfortunes to draw others (even criminals and jailers) into his family.
When an earthquake sent by God opened the prison and unchained everyone, Paul and Silas assured the jailer that no one had escaped. And the jailer, who had been ready to kill himself, learned about salvation through belief in Jesus. Then the jailer and “all his household were baptized.” (See also Acts 16:15.) In that time a “household” often included a wife and children, aging parents, and slaves or servants. In examples like this, God makes clear that he wants whole households brought into his covenant family!
Lord Jesus, Savior to all who call on you, bring us and our loved ones into the family of God, and use us to draw others to you. Amen.