Acts 16:16-40 - I do, you watch!
Intentional apprenticeship style learning and practice commences with the ‘I do you watch’ stage. It’s a time of observation and reflection inclusive of taking in pertinent information that will lead a disciple of Jesus to the next stage of ‘I do you help’. Timothy is still traveling with Paul and Silas. Yesterdays devotion finished with Lydia becoming a follower of Jesus, being baptised and then hospitality being offered to Paul and Silas and the rest of their traveling companions, including Timothy; We are told they accepted her offer and stayed with her. At some time in the future, while the group along with Paul and Silas were going to the place of prayer, they were confronted by a slave girl. (16:16ff) Timothy is with them and the slave girl begins to manifest an evil spirit. Timothy watches this spiritual encounter and clash of Kingdoms. He sees the way Paul responds, hears the language he uses and witnesses the immediate release of the slave girl from the demons grasp.
More than this, he watches as Paul and Silas are stripped, beaten and imprisoned. Whether or not Timothy is outside the prison witnessing what went on at mid night or whether he is back at Lydia’s place we do not know but we can be sure that he is paying close attention to what is happening. He knows of their being freed, of the jailers conversion and subsequent baptism which incidentally is the second mention of a complete household being baptised within this one city in the space of one chapter. (16:15, 33). After the magistrates forced into escorting them from prison because they caused Roman citizens to be illegally flogged, they order them to leave the city but instead, Paul and Silas join Timothy and the others for a prayer and praise celebration at Lydia’s house. Yes, that’s right, amidst the violent accusations and beatings, the home of this newly appointed host of the Christian church in Philippi becomes both the place of prayerful preparation and ‘praise-full’ celebration as Timothy watches exactly what the Apostle Paul is doing and he soaks up what he hears and sees as he leans deeper into what it means to be a disciple on mission.
Where do you see God at work, thorough his Spirit today? What doors is he opening for you and how might you both be encouraged today as well as encourage others as they themselves lean into Jesus as Lord? As you continue to reflect on God at work in your life, re-read verse 25 – Of significance is the way in which Paul chose to respond to his circumstance; its his attitude that makes a difference and provides leverage. Paul and Silas where praising God amidst shocking injustice and the other prisoners were ‘listening to them’. When others are watching you in times of difficulty, what do they see; who do they see?