The morning after ministering the love of God to the Philippian jailer & his family, Paul & Silas were greeted in their jail cell by Roman officers They had been sent by the governing Roman officials of Philippi with an order to release Paul & Silas (277).
Perhaps gracefully, Paul replied to the officers, “We are Roman citizens. We were not found guilty of any crime, yet they whipped us in public & then threw us in jail. And now they want to send us away secretly? No, brothers. The governing officials themselves must come here & let us out of this jail.”
Immediately, the officers backed off! Throughout the Roman empire, citizenship was the special status of a minority of the population.
It was unheard of for any Roman officer ever to beat a Roman citizen! So the officers returned & reported this unexpected turn of events to the Roman officials.
When the Roman officials in Philippi heard that Paul & Silas were Roman citizens, they knew they had made a big mistake. They were very afraid . . .
So, very politely, they went & apologized to Paul & Silas. Then they led them out of the jail & politely asked them to leave the city.
Paul & Silas left the jail, but the Holy Spirit prompted them to go back to Lydia’s house, where they encouraged the believers.
Only then did the witnesses for Jesus leave the Macedonian city of Philippi.
(278) Acts 16:35-40