The Trial of Alexander the Jailer

A courtroom drama during the trial of Alexander the Jailer, who is accused of letting Paul and Silas escape from jail. Five ROX teens performed this skit at the May 12, 2013 Family Service (based on Acts 16:25-34).

Setting: a courtroom, with judge, lawyers, and a chair for a witness.

Judge: The matter of Alexander the Jailer will now be heard. Councilors, we will hear a brief opening statement from each of you.

Prosecutor: Your honor, we will establish that Alexander the Jailer acted willfully and purposefully helped the escape of two notorious prisoners, Paul and Silas. We will further demonstrate that Alexander gave them aid and comfort to these two prisoners at his own home. These are the facts of the case, and they are not in dispute.

Judge: I see. Thank you, councilor. And for the defense?

Defense: Your honor, the defense stipulates to the facts that the prisoners, Paul and Silas, are no longer in custody and that they did, in fact, spend time at the home of Alexander the Jailer. However, we move that these charges of aiding and abetting their escape be dropped. The prosecution has not told your honor all of the facts. The whole truth will exonerate our client, Alexander.

Judge: We will see. (Then to the prosecutor) Call your first witness.

Prosecutor: The state calls Pericles, the head jailer.

Pericles sits in the witness chair.

Prosecutor: The morning after the earthquake—what did you see when you arrived at the jail?

Pericles: Most of the prisoners were locked in chains in their cells, though all the doors had been thrown off their hinges. Alexander told me that thought everyone had escaped, but they didn’t seem capable of doing so. Then I got to the innermost cell and the two prisoners were gone. Why just those two? Because he helped them escape. All of the surrounding prisoners confirmed it. This is my testimony.

Prosecutor: Thank you, head jailer. Your honor, the state rests.

Judge: Very well. Defense, call your first witness.

Defense: We call our client, Alexander the Jailer to the stand.

Alexander sits in the witness chair.

Defense: Please enlighten the court as to what happened the night of the earthquake?

Alexander: The earthquake shook me awake. I saw all the doors off their hinges, and I thought all the prisoners had escaped. But then I heard a voice from within saying that they were all there. I got to Paul and Silas’s cell, and it was true.

Defense: They easily could have escaped. But they didn’t?

Alexander: That’s right. None of the prisoners were locked up, but none of them ran. Paul had some sort of effect on them, and they stayed put! Anyone could see that this man is a man of God.

Defense: And so you let him go.

Alexander: Yes…

Prosecutor: (interrupting) You see, he’s guilty!

Judge: Order in the court! Order.

Defense: Go on.

Alexander: Yes, I let him go because he could have escaped any moment after the earthquake and brought the whole notorious population of the jail with him. But he kept them from running! I knew right then that he and his friend didn’t belong in jail, so I took them to my home and washed his wounds.

Judge: This is the first I’ve heard of the fact that no one tried to escape in the confusion. Hmmm….

Alexander: It’s more than that, your honor. Even when Paul was in the dark, innermost cell; even when there seemed like hope was gone, he didn’t stop proclaiming the love of his God. His whole being shined with the light of God, even in the dark of the jail.

Judge: (mesmerized) Even in the dark of the jail?

Alexander: Yes, your honor. Paul never turns off his desire to demonstrate the love of God. He knows that no matter where you are or what situation you are in, you have the opportunity to touch another life with God’s love. I’m proof of that. I was his jailer, and yet he showed God’s love to me!

Defense: So you couldn’t help but reflect it by bringing Paul to your home and taking care of his hurts?

Alexander: That’s right. The love he showed me made me want to show love, as well. That’s why I brought him out of the jail. He didn’t belong there, but I’m glad he was there, or else we would never have met.

Judge: Be that as it may, you still failed in your duty as a jailer. Therefore, I sentence you to stop working at the jail. Furthermore, I sentence you to seek out this Paul and learn more about this God of his. And then come back and tell me.

Prosecutor: You can’t be serious!

Judge: I am. This is my ruling.

Alexander: You see, your honor. Even here in this court, I had the opportunity to demonstrate to you the love of Paul’s God. Isn’t it wonderful?

Judge: Yes, it is. I will remember your wise words, Alexander: demonstrate the love of God all the time, no matter where you are, because you never know whom you might touch.


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