The following morning, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer to release Paul and Silas. The magistrates were the Roman elected officials that enforced the Roman law in their territories. One of their functions was to be judged in the justice system for Rome. As magistrates, they could not allow Roman citizens to be imprisoned or ordered to be flogged without a fair trial. Since Paul and Silas were Romans, Paul understood that the magistrates falsely imprisoned them because they did not give them a fair trial. The magistrates imprisoned Paul and Silas just to please the people. But when the magistrates discovered that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. They immediately went to the prison and apologized to them. The magistrates then brought them out of prison and begged them to leave the city. Paul and Silas had a right as Roman citizens to appeal to Caesar (Emperor) to complain against the magistrates and put them out of office or punish them if they wanted to, but they wanted to focus on what God had called them to do. Paul and Silas left the prison and went to Lydia's home to meet the believers and encourage them, then they left town. (Acts 16:35-40).
Paul and Silas' Roman citizenships would help them to spread the gospel to the Roman territories across Asia and Europe. During the Roman period, many people coveted Roman citizenship because of the many benefits that came along with it. Every Roman citizen was protected by Roman law and could travel anywhere in the Roman territories. When God chose Paul to become an apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jews), God equipped Paul with everything that he needed. It was not an accident when Paul was born a Jewish Roman citizen. God had already planned all of these before the creation of time to fulfill His purpose and plan.
God created us with a purpose and meaning. We are not accidents, but we are loved by our Creator when we were born. Psalm 139:13-18 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you."
Ask yourself these questions for application: (Think through these questions carefully and meditate on them while answering them, and let the Spirit of God speaks to you). Was it an accident for Paul to be born as a Jewish Roman Citizen? Do I believe that God has a specific purpose and plan for me? Am I willing to surrender my life to God so that I can live in His purpose and plan in my life?
Father in Heaven, thank you for creating me with your love and compassion. Thank you that I am not an accident, but I am created with a purpose and meaning. I surrender my life to you so that your purpose and plan will be fulfilled in me. Your ways are better than my ways or the ways of this world. In your name Jesus, I pray. Amen.