Paul in Thessalonica and Berea

Text: Acts 17:1-15


I.         From Philippi, Paul and Silas went through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia before they decided to stop in Thessalonica.

            A.        This town had a large enough Jewish population to support a synagogue.

            B.        As Paul usually did, he entered the synagogue to study with the members there from the Scriptures.

                        1.         This he did for three weeks.

                        2.         He reasoned from the Old Testament that the Messiah, the Christ, had to suffer and be resurrected.

                        3.         From this he concluded that Jesus had to be the Messiah.

            C.        His reasoning convinced some of the Jews. It also convinced an even larger number of God-fearing Greeks. A number of leading women were also in that number.

II.        The Jews who remained became jealous of the number following Paul’s teaching

            A.        They picked up some thugs from the market place and formed a mob.

            B.        The city was in an uproar. During the distraction, they entered Jason’s house, a known Christian, seeking Paul and Silas

            C.        When they were unable to lay hands on these men, they took who they could – Jason and some other brethren – and dragged them before the authorities

                        1.         The charge was that these men were upsetting the world.

                        2.         It is almost humorous when you realize who started the mob.

                        3.         Jason was charged with harboring these divisive men and joining with them in breaking the laws of Caesar.

                                    a.          Remember that it is Jews who are making the charge. Men who could not abide the Romans or their laws.

                                    b.         They even charged that they were making Jesus – a dead man – king.

            D.        They caused such a ruckus that they had the crowds and even the authorities stirred up against these men.

            E.        Jason and the others were required to post a bond to be released.

III.       Given the difficulties, the brethren urged Paul and Silas to leave that very night for Berea, another nearby town.

            A.        Paul and Silas did not change their habits. They again entered the synagogue in Berea to talk with the Jews there.

            B.        The reaction to the Gospel here was much better. The Jews listened eagerly and searched the Scriptures to verify what Paul had said.

            C.        As a result, a large number of Jews were converted to Christ along with leading Greeks, both men and women.

            D.        However, it did not remain peaceful.

                        1.         The Jews in Thessalonica found out that Paul was teaching in Berea

                        2.         They sent people to stir up a mob in Berea.

            E.        The brethren in Berea decided it was best to send Paul to a new destination by sea.

                        1.         Meanwhile, Timothy and Silas remained in Berea to work with the new church

                        2.         Once things were well-established, they would join Paul where he was at.

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