In our experience as pastors over the years, we find that it is easier to help people into a wonderful, freeing relationship with Jesus Christ who have never been to church than to help those who have a little knowledge about the Bible, a lot of knowledge about the rules of “how to do church” and are merely impressed as Jesus but seemingly have little ongoing relationship with Him. Odd, isn’t it?
Paul knows this scenario well. He is going from town to town, city to city, spreading the Good News. His opponents? The hard-line Jews who refuse Truth as told in the Scriptures they have read all of their lives. No, this journey on earth of Truth telling will never be easy. But worth it? YES…to Paul and to us.
Keep telling the Truth about the most important relationship we will ever have…with Jesus Christ! He is the only way to God, our Father who loved us first and loves us still. Lay aside what you have been “brought up with” for awhile and just think about Jesus. Consider the enormity of what God has done for us through Jesus.
Acts 17, The Message
4-5 Some of them were won over and joined ranks with Paul and Silas, among them a great many God-fearing Greeks and a considerable number of women from the aristocracy. But the hard-line Jews became furious over the conversions. Mad with jealousy, they rounded up a bunch of brawlers off the streets and soon had an ugly mob terrorizing the city as they hunted down Paul and Silas.
5-7 They broke into Jason’s house, thinking that Paul and Silas were there. When they couldn’t find them, they collared Jason and his friends instead and dragged them before the city fathers, yelling hysterically, “These people are out to destroy the world, and now they’ve shown up on our doorstep, attacking everything we hold dear! And Jason is hiding them, these traitors and turncoats who say Jesus is king and Caesar is nothing!”
8-9 The city fathers and the crowd of people were totally alarmed by what they heard. They made Jason and his friends post heavy bail and let them go while they investigated the charges.
10-12 That night, under cover of darkness, their friends got Paul and Silas out of town as fast as they could. They sent them to Berea, where they again met with the Jewish community. They were treated a lot better there than in Thessalonica. The Jews received Paul’s message with enthusiasm and met with him daily, examining the Scriptures to see if they supported what he said. A lot of them became believers, including many Greeks who were prominent in the community, women and men of influence.
13-15 But it wasn’t long before reports got back to the Thessalonian hard-line Jews that Paul was at it again, preaching the Word of God, this time in Berea. They lost no time responding, and created a mob scene there, too. With the help of his friends, Paul gave them the slip—caught a boat and put out to sea. Silas and Timothy stayed behind. The men who helped Paul escape got him as far as Athens and left him there. Paul sent word back with them to Silas and Timothy: “Come as quickly as you can!”
What do we learn?
–Even Paul (and Jesus) did not reach all people for Christ. BUT, he kept telling the Truth, wherever he went and did not give up.
Reflection: Do we give up too easily in hard times? Do we stop praying for loved ones who we feel will NEVER come into a relationship with Jesus?
Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word is all about You, our relationship with You and how You work through us to tell others about Your love for us. I am amazed You, the God of Creation, wants to be in a relationship with me, a speck on the world You created. But You do and I am grateful, eternally grateful. Thank you, Lord. Continue to be with us this day. I’m listening and watching. In Jesus Name, Amen