WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18
SCRIPTURE: Acts 17
This chapter covers a lot of territory, not just physical distance but spiritual distance. It begins in Thessalonica moves to Berea and then on to Athens. It moves from meeting in the synagogue once a week to meeting every day to meeting in the streets. But through all of that, Paul was faithful to share the Gospel in every context. And he was intentional enough to take people from where they were to a point where Jesus could be presented and Gospel could be preached.
In Thessalonica, Paul met with Jewish people in the synagogue on at least three consecutive Sabbath days. Interestingly enough some of those Jewish people were very open to the Gospel and were saved. Other Jews in that city were very opposed to the Gospel and, out of jealousy, created a situation that would force Paul and his crew out of town.
There is a very interesting statement in verse 7. The opposition said about Paul and his crew, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also”. There are a couple of important points to consider here. First, Paul and his crew had a reputation. The people of Thessalonica knew about the work and the impact that Paul and his crew had. And it is just as obvious that group thought Paul and his crew were going to turn their world upside down.
I have thought about that a bit. It seems to me that our world is being turned upside down. And it seems to me that there are lots of culprits for that: world politics, national morality, etc. But it doesn’t seem to me that our nation is being turned upside down by the Gospel. We desperately need God to bring another Great Awakening to our land. We desperately need Christ followers to be brave and bold in sharing the Gospel with the world.
From Thessalonica, Paul went on to Berea. The Bereans were a very different group. They were so interested in what Paul had to say, they met every day to study the Scriptures. This would be a good place for me to say something about how today we have trouble getting people to gather once a week for Bible study.
Athens was the next stop on Paul’s journey. There is part of this story that I absolutely love. That is the piece where Paul uses the statue to the unknown god as his starting point to share the Gospel. It is so cool to see Paul start where people were (even idolaters) and lead them to Jesus. He even quoted one of their secular poets as path to lead them to Jesus. As verses 32-34 prove, not everybody went on that journey to Jesus but some did.
This is an important chapter for several reasons. One of those has to be the evidence of Paul working hard at the work of the Gospel. We need to be about the work of the Gospel as well. Another one of those is the evidence that Paul was willing to go wherever he could to share the Gospel. Everyone deserves to hear the Gospel. May we be faithful to share it.