Wednesday after the Second Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Acts 17:1-15 (NKJV)
17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.
5 But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. 7 Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” 8 And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. 9 So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. 14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.
Violent mobs have always been a threat against Christians throughout the history of the Church. During the time of the Roman Empire, Christians were repeatedly maligned and mobs were employed by politicians to deflect guilt away from themselves. Nero was one great example of this. Here the Jews drag Jason and some other Christians before the rulers of the city. The Jews charge Jason, Paul, Silas, and all the rest of the Christians with treason.
We note in this charge an echo of the charge of treason that the Sanhedrin made against Jesus. Roman officials would care about treason more than Jewish heresy. But suffering physical pain and humiliation like our Lord is one of the greatest honors a Christian can be given. To be brought low, like our Savior, for His sake brings us into greater union with Him. This is a great reason so many early Christians peacefully went to their deaths in the ancient world. They knew suffering and death were not just random accidents, but God’s plan to glorify them. So, we too can rejoice in our persecution. If we suffer for Him in this world, we will share His glory in the next.
Prayer: O Lord, who never failest to help and govern those whom Thou dost bring up in Thy steadfast fear and love, make us to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy name; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.