Greetings one and all! So sorry for the lack of blogging last week. I have a few blog post ideas, so hopefully the blog will be more full this week.
This post brings us to Acts 17. Paul, Silas, and Timothy travel to three cities: Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens.
While they were in Thessalonica, Paul went to the synagogue as he usually did. There he debated with them using the scriptures, he proved to them Jesus was (and is) the Messiah, that He died, was buried, and He rose from the dead. He told them “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ” (v 3 b). There were some Jews, Greeks, and “not a few prominent Greek women” (v 4) became followers of Jesus that day (vv 1-4).
But when the Jewish leaders found out about all of this they went out looking for Paul and Silas. When they didn’t find them they arrested the brethren they were staying with. They forced those brethren to post bond and released them (vv 5-8).
On a side note, Paul would later write two letters to the brethren in Thessalonica, called First and Second Thessalonians.
In verses 10 through 15 Paul, Silas, and Timothy traveled to Berea. The brethren send them there under the cover of darkness (v 10 a). When they arrived there they went to the Jewish synagogue to preach to the Jews. The Bereans studied the scriptures well as Paul spoke to them. They wouldn’t blindly accept any teaching they could see for themselves. This sets a great example for us to study the scriptures for ourselves and not just accept what we are told. Many Jews and Greeks put Jesus on in baptism there too.
But the Jews in Thessalonica found out Paul was in Berea and went there too. They angered the crowds so much the Berean brethren quickly got Paul on a ship sailing to Athens. While Paul was sailing to Athens, Silas and Timothy stayed behind in Berea. Before Paul left he asked for Silas and Timothy to go join him at their first opportunity.
Verses 16 through 33 talk about Athens. While Paul was there waiting for his comrades he was terribly disturbed by all of the idols he saw there. Paul would hold meetings with some in the Jewish synagogue, and in the marketplace everyday and talk with whomever would listen. He met a lot of interested people who wanted to talk with him about Jesus. A lot of them thought Paul was advocating a new god. A lot of the Athenians as well as foreign people there liked to gather and talk about the newest and latest ideas. One day while Paul was in the Areopagus, he stood up and said he had been observing the citizens of Athens for some time and he observed they were a very religious society. He saw a lot of idols around the city. They seemed to have every idol represented in their city. And just in case they missed one, they one dedicated to the Unknown God. Paul was quick to spot that one, and told them about the God they didn’t know, and that He longed to know them. He is the God who made everything and everyone on earth.
He told them the one true God can’t be contained in iron or clay. Since He made us, He wants us to honor Him. His Son came to die for all of mankind, and He is alive again longing to bring His faithful ones back home with Him.
When Paul told them about the resurrection, some were interested and some just jeered him. Some wanted to hear more. After this, Paul left the council. Some became believers in the Lord, including a member of the Areopagus, and several other people.
I have been told his is parallel to campus ministry. In any case we can treat our own cities, neighborhoods, and everywhere we go as a mission field. Our brethren in Acts took Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18-20 to heart. As we go we are to be making disciples.
I will write more about the missional church in Acts in later dates.
I hope and pray you all find this interesting and helpful. Please send me your comments, thoughts, questions, or whatever you would like to ask or say. They are always welcomed and encouraged. God bless you all. Grace and Peace.
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