And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. (Acts 16:33-39)
In Acts 16:33-39, we see two characters involved in the justice system that wrongly accused, convicted, and carried out a sentence against Paul and Silas – the jailor and the magistrates.
The jailor, realizing the wrong that was done, tried to correct his error by cleaning their wounds, taking care of them, and serving them a meal.
The magistrates, on the other hand, realized that they had unjustly imprisoned Paul and Silas. They acted impulsively and didn’t search the law or hear any testimony in defense of Paul and Silas. They moved on their emotions and passions and saw the men of God beaten. When it was discovered they had not followed Roman law, they wanted to cover it up and let Paul and Silas go quietly.
Just because someone is a judge or in a position of authority does not mean they will always decide righteously. Christians should pray for righteous judges to arise in their nation. When we are in power, we should judge righteously by not acting strictly on impulse or emotion and by abiding by the law and following the Holy Spirit.
Practical Application – Pray for righteous judges to be appointed or elected. When you have authority, don't judge emotionally, but by the dictates of the law and the Holy Ghost.
John 7:24; Romans 14:4