Paul and Silas then traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.” Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women. But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd. Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too. And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.” The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports. So the officials forced Jason and the other believers to post bond, and then they released them. (Acts of the Apostles 17:1-9 NLT)
Amphipolis, Apollonia, and Thessalonica are all west and south of Philippi. It should be noted that the cities of Philippi and Thessalonica are where we get the names of two of Paul's epistles (letters) to the churches in the New Testament (Philippians and I and 2 Thessalonians).
As was Paul's custom, they entered the synagogue of the Jews in Thessalonica and reasoned with the Jews for three Sabbaths (Saturday's). He used the Old Testament Prophecies to prove that Jesus was the Messiah (Christ) that the Jews had been waiting for. Some of the Jews and many of the God fearing Gentiles (even some prominent men and women) believed in Jesus and followed Paul and Silas. This was a joyous occasion. However, just as it had been in other cities, some of the Jewish people were angered by these proclamations and conversions. They found some troublemakers in the marketplace and stirred up the townspeople against Paul and Silas. Apparently, Jason was one of the converts that had shown hospitality to Paul and Silas. The mob attacked his house thinking that Paul and Silas was there. When they didn't find them, they drug Jason and other believers before the city council and accused Paul and Silas, as well as the captured, of treason against Caesar since they professed allegiance to Jesus. The hypocritical thing here is, that these Jews were also guilty of Treason based on their own accusation. The Jews were monotheistic (one God) worshippers of Jehovah. The Christians were also monotheistic worshippers. They accepted Jesus as God (Jehovah) in human flesh. The only difference was one group acknowledged Jesus as the promised, Old Testament, Messiah and the other didn't. The Greek culture was polytheistic (many gods). The Jewish people were having to live in a pagan society. Their allegiance was to Jehovah God. So is the follower of Jesus. There is only one God! Jesus is his name! (See John 1:1-18; 10:30; 14:8-11; Colossians 1:15-23; 2:9; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1: Whole Chapter; Revelation1: Whole Chapter).
Isn't it simply astounding how someone who claims to love God can stir up such trouble against others even to the point of attacking them. We must stand for, and preach, the truth, but we must never become hostile and vicious. If your faith doesn't change your attitude and conduct, what good is it? James Chapter 2 is a clear statement on this matter.
Lastly, Jason and the other believers who were arrested had to post bond. I'm shaking my head as I write this. They didn't do a thing wrong, yet they were attacked, arrested, accused, and made to pay money out of their pockets to be freed. They did it joyfully. Could we do the same? Would we do the same? I wonder how many church people would not return to church service any more after an incident like this one. I can hear them grumbling "I'm not going to put up with this. I just wanted to go to heaven when I die". Well, my brothers and sisters,, the time is swiftly approaching in America when we, too, will be drug out in the streets and arrested, accused, and face legal fees for our faith. Perhaps even death.
Will you be faithful to your profession or will your profession only be found to be a religious notion? Think on that. Do you truly love Jesus or are you only fond of Him?
Jesus, I love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, help me stand true till the end!!
Rev. Curtis Norris