The Keepers Of The Prison

Acts 5:23 – Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.

Acts 12:6 – And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.

Acts 12:19 – And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.

Hello readers, new blog today. Hope you’ve had a great week, and hopefully this blog is meaningful to you. I’ve called this blog “The keepers of the prison”. If you feel like you’re in a prison, than this blog is for you. I want to think of these keepers of the prison as people who you care what they think who really don’t care about you. Yet they keep you in prison. You know, many people don’t get saved, not because they don’t receive the truth, but because they’re kept from receiving it by people who have been appointed to keep them from receiving it.

In Acts 13, Paul was witnessing to a deputy, called Sergius Paulus. He’d been interested in hearing what the Bible said. But there was a guy in his life called Elymas, who the Bible says sought to turn away the deputy from the faith. He wanted to keep the deputy in his prison in life. Because when you’re not saved, you are a prisoner. You aren’t nearly as free as you think you are. People are slaves of friends, family, peer pressure, peer validation, acceptance, and they get stuck in a life of flesh and sin and they’re kept there, chained, and in darkness.

I hope you read Acts 12, because in that story Herod takes Peter prisoner, he’s going to kill him, and Peter’s being well kept in that prison that night when God delivers him from prison. God comes and gives him a way out. Do you want a way out of your prison. A life of sin is imprisonment. A life following Satan is imprisonment. How many people completely trap themselves in their own sin and rebellion against God. Their marriage, their potential, their witness, their testimony, their happiness, their fulfillment, their joy all taken prisoner and they only know the length of the chain they’re given in that prison. They wander around in those four walls in their spirit and mind and lives.

This truth applies not just to unsaved, but to saved. I would know because I am familiar with my prison. When you go to share the gospel with someone but you then don’t because of what someone else will say or think… that’s being in prison. When you have no freedom to obey Jesus Christ because of others, that is a life in prison. People are fine with you being a Christian so far, but you surely know where the boundary is, where those walls are where you can go no further. If we weren’t all so imprisoned we’d live that life that we know we could and should and would.

I’ve spoken to people who are in a prison but they’re not going to step out. You know why, because of their friends. Because they don’t struggle with it being the truth, but they think they could never live it. And that’s true, we can’t. It takes God’s grace to live it, but grace that is available to any who wants it. They already know the boundaries for their life. Satan reminds them this is something you don’t want to do. You can literally see it happen. The worst prison is the one you don’t recognize you in. You don’t recognize how chained you are, you don’t know that you’re in darkness, you don’t know you’re a jailbird. There wouldn’t be a person on this planet surely who wouldn’t rather be free than in prison. When we were made in the image of God, and walked in righteousness before sin… being chained and in darkness was not God’s design or plan for us. Look where sin and disobedience to God got us.

Are you in prison in your mind? You know the life you want to live, should live, could live… but won’t live… because your prison is well kept. You’re scared what other people think. You won’t say what you should say, you won’t live how you should live, you won’t do what you should do… all because you’re in chains. Peter was chained. He was chained to Roman soldiers. He was in prison. And the door was being well kept. Yet God would free him, and God will free you today. And you’ll realize that path to freedom is far simpler than you think. The angel of the Lord told him to get up, and walk out. And through simply obeying the word of God, Peter walked out.

There are a lot of people facing impossibilities in life. Congratulations. Every single person faces impossibilities. That’s where God takes you, so you’ll know it’s God. So you’ll see his hand, so you’ll know for yourself. Because God deals in impossible. And by impossible, I don’t mean giving you the winning numbers to the lottery. With our life of sin we’ve set the boundaries of our own prison, our sin closes the net on ourselves. People are in prison, unable to do anything, because of all the sin they’ve committed, and now that prison is very impossible it seems to walk out of. Only Jesus Christ can deliver you.

People who comment on my blog, or who I talk to in my life, or even my own life… there seems to be a common denominator. People are in prison. Your prison may be different to mine, but the fact is, we are in prison. I can think of no greater prison in my life than caring what others think, I seem to care what others think even though I know they don’t matter, I know they don’t have my best at heart, I know they won’t be there for me when I die… so why would I care? It’s crazy.

I want you to think of the keepers of the prison as you peers, friends or family, people who are keeping you from believing, obeying and following the Lord Jesus Christ in your life. People who are preventing you from having the liberty that is freely yours, given to you by the grace of God. Why would you let someone keep you in chains and in darkness, when you can walk in the light and in fresh air?

I was thinking of how imprisoned the parents of that blind man who Jesus healed were. They were so scared of being kicked out the synagogue, being rejected at their local church, that they couldn’t even rejoice in their son who was born blind being able to see for the first time. It’s crazy stuff. They got robbed of that joy and blessing because of people who weren’t their friends, who didn’t have their best at heart… yet who’s validation they needed so badly it seems. Think of how controlled they were, they couldn’t even confess the name of Christ for fear of rejection. Why’d they care so much what the synagogue thought. They didn’t care for them.

Why do we need validation from others? Why aren’t we content with God’s validation and approval on our life. Would it be okay to you if everyone else rejected you but you were right with God, but God was well pleased with your walk of faith and love to him.

One thing that has become apparent to me in life is that people know the truth a lot more than you might think. In fact, it’s not they don’t know the truth, or don’t think hey there’s something to that, it’s they’re being kept in their prison, and reminded by their friends, you’re not getting out. It’s not the seed wasn’t planted, it’s the seed could not be received. Because their heart and soul is being kept from receiving it.

I speak to people, and you tell them the gospel, and they’re seriously entertaining it, before Satan reminds them this is something they do not want to do. They flirt with truth, they flirt with salvation, but then they realize I belong in prison. That’s my place. Judas Iscariot had his place, where’s your place? As a Christian, you do not belong in prison. You may end up in prison physically for the gospel’s sake, but spiritually we have a freedom that no man can take, and as Paul said, the word of God is not bound. One of the things that keeps us bound is that people know us.

People who actually know you could keep your prison for a long time. They’re going to dictate what you will and won’t do your whole life. People that know your sin, that know what you’ve done, that have seen you at your lowest point. The best thing to do is just own your sin, yeah I did that, and it was wrong, and I’m sorry and I’ve been forgiven through the Lord Jesus Christ. People that you don’t want to face, and can’t face, who’s expectation and opinion and face will keep you locked up and not going anywhere.

Bad friends will keep you from ever leaving that prison. You surround yourself with drinking buddies, they’ll keep you drinking. You surround yourself with people doing drugs, you’ll never leave your drugs. They’ll keep your prison. How many people knew they should’ve done better, would’ve done better, could’ve done better… they could’ve gotten out, but their buddies kept them in that life of sin, and it ended up costing them everything.

Fearing what others think will keep you from ever having the liberty to follow Jesus Christ. Valuing what your friends think, valuing your friends over God… that will keep you in prison. Sometimes that prison looks inescapable. And in our own strength there are prisons that are our Alcatraz, there is no escape.

But Peter had divine intervention, divine intervention which had done all the work for him. All he needed to do was follow the angel of the Lord out. You can just follow Jesus Christ right on out. Step by step behind him as he leads. That door is open, the keepers taken care of, the chains fallen off, and that iron gate swinging open in front of you. It’s never really as hard and bad as we think is it. It’s funny how God’s prepared a way, but we just don’t see that way until we actually take the step of faith. Peter couldn’t see the way, yet there was a way. And think of how Peter felt when he saw the open door, and the glorious light shining into his dungeon. Maybe you want to follow the light, there is a desire in you to follow Jesus Christ, but those soldiers are reminding you hey, you’re chained with us buddy.

What amazes me is how everyone keeps everyone from getting saved. People drag each other down. Sinners keep other sinners in sin. They don’t believe, and they’ll make sure you don’t. And you’ll make sure they don’t. Sinners and unbelievers like to keep each other on the same level. They make sure you drink, you make sure they drink. Stay down here where I am. I’m not free, so you won’t be either. People don’t want you to be free, it is a comfort to them that you’re like them, living the same as them, thinking the same, rising no higher than them. It helps to justify them. Because if you don’t do what they do anymore, then they feel convicted. Old wicked king Ahaziah sent his men to a preacher who was on the top of a hill, and they commanded that preacher… Elijah was his name… to come down. Come down to where I am at. Rather than us going up to God’s level, we want to stay down here, and bring God and others down to our level. People want everyone else down at their level. They want to bring God’s word down to their level, and they have and do. It makes them feel better about their sin when everyone else is there with them.

Maybe someone’s got something on you. Joab had something on David, he knew what David had done. Maybe there’s some people who you’re scared of because what’s gone on in the past, and they’ll prevent you from ever realizing your potential in Christ Jesus. Paul had some bad stuff in his past, but he put them in his past and pressed forward. You can’t look back. I was thinking about how in Hebrews 11, the Bible speaks of “opportunity to have returned”. You gotta decide whether you really want out. A lot of prisoners can’t live on the outside once they’ve been inside so long. Their prison is a comfort to them. That’s what they know. They’re content in that prison. Maybe you’ve been in sin and disobedience to long, and you love your prison. Israel was like that and got like that. We want to go back to Egypt, that was much easier being a prisoner there, getting our lives dictated to, rather than being free to follow God by faith.

You know, those people with Peter in his prison weren’t his real friends. His real friends were out there praying for him. Yet he was stuck with people who were only good for keeping him chained. The people that love you don’t want you chained and in darkness. Yet you’ll let your life be dictated to you by people who really don’t care for you at all. All they’re good for is preventing you from leaving your prison. Maybe you’re stuck with people who aren’t your real friends, you’re chained to people who will make sure you never see the light, you’ll never enjoy the liberty that God has for you.

You know that these soldiers and keepers would be put to death by the end of this chapter. You know, it’s incredible to me that people follow other people who are going to hell. Why would you follow and care what someone who is heading to hell thinks? If you could see their end, and your end, why would you let them keep you where they’re at a second longer? Why would you be chained up with them so you go where they go? That’s madness. Strike that chain off.

One of the main reasons why the Pharisees wanted to get rid of Jesus was because people had stopped following them to follow Jesus. Jesus had exposed them badly for the frauds they were. They didn’t believe, and they didn’t want anyone else to believe. They were never going to go to heaven, all they were doing was trying to make sure nobody else did either. They wanted him crucified to prevent others from following him. That’s the lengths they went to. There is a real opposition out there to you believing and obeying and following Jesus Christ, make no mistake. And there will be keepers appointed over you to make sure you’re on the chain and stay where you’re meant to stay and reminded to stay in the darkness. Know your limits, know where those walls on bondage are.

So often our worst imprisonment is spiritual, and in the mind. People are completely owned by pride or lust or bitterness or envy. They’re around people who help them stay in that state. They’re kept in that state by people who can’t and won’t help them. Oh, they feel secure. Peter was real secure in that prison. Really secure in that darkness and bondage. But the reason is we don’t want to be out, we can’t imagine being out. Peter thought he was dreaming as he walked out, he couldn’t believe it. Could it be possible that you be set free?

Peter was sleeping in that prison. You need to wake up. The angel of the Lord smote him. Hey, take it easy! Sometimes we need to be pushed rather than jump. Simon of Cyrene was going past, and he only took up the cross because he was forced to. We’ve tried as Christians to make it through life without ever taking up our cross. Oh we want to believe, and we want to be silent disciples, but this world can and will make sure that you know that if you want to believe and follow Christ… there IS a cross involved. And that cross on your shoulders can be pretty heavy if you care what others think and the shame and ridicule involved.

I think one of the biggest things in  Christianity is identification. Moses big step in his life was identifying as a Hebrew. For a good while he would’ve silently been on the Hebrews side. But one day he came out as one of them. Yeah, I’m one of them. We don’t want to follow Christ because we don’t want to be “one of those”. There are people who secretly and silently follow, but they’re ashamed of being identified as “one of them”. We’d like to be like Simon of Cyrene, but as he realized, it’s not spectator sport. You gotta get in the game. For a society so obsessed with identity, it’s the Christians who are ashamed to identify with their Saviour, while boys come out as girls, and while others come out as non binary or pansexual or homosexual or whatever. How is it a shame to believe in the sinless Son of God who died on the cross for our sins, but not a shame to come out as a reprobate?

Who’s keeping your prison. Think about your own life. Who’s there when you go to leave. Who’s there in your head when you go to obey and honour Jesus Christ. Who looms up and reminds you you’re not going anywhere. Who’s keeping you from serving God? Who’s going to keep you from heaven and eternal life? Who’s going to keep you from joy, fulfillment, purpose, light and truth? Who’s going to keep you from God’s mercy and grace? Those keepers of Peter’s prison didn’t love him quite as much as the Lord Jesus Christ, who kept his soul, loved him. Commit your life to a new keeper, Jesus Christ is the shepherd of the sheep, and he’s got green pastures and still waters… that sounds much  better than chains and darkness? Think about your own life today, think about where you’re bound, think about that limitation that chain in your mind and spirit where sin, and rebellion and your peers has put on you, others who don’t really love you or ultimately matter. Read Acts 12, Peter just walked out, the way was already open. The door was open, the iron gate, that impossible iron gate, swung open of his own accord. You’ll realize God has already made a way.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – :)

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