Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them.
– Acts 17:1-9
The “they” in the first sentence are the apostle Paul and his co-worker Silas (also known as Silvanus).
As we’ve seen, the apostles typically started their preaching in a city’s synagogue. What is also typical in this passage is that some Jews believed the message preached and some did not, and some Gentiles believed and some did not. The message of Christ has always been a polarizing message because He is a polarizing person. People either run to Him or they run away from Him.
Note that the theme of Messiah’s suffering and glory – “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” – shows up in Paul’s preaching. The evidence Paul gave was eyewitness testimony to a living Jesus who had been crucified and written testimony from the Scriptures that this had been God’s plan all along. This powerful twofold testimony is what gave the believers (Jew and Gentile) the strength to break ranks with the unbelievers (Jew and Gentile).
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, strengthen my faith through Your witnesses in the Old and New Testaments…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)