by Terry Wane Benton
Paul "reasoned" with the Jews for three Sabbaths (Acts 17:2f) from the Scriptures (their own Scriptures). Thus, he started with what both sides agreed was true. The Scriptures had long been settled as true and authoritative to both sides participating in the discussion. The Scriptures would have to be handled accurately. From this authoritative source, Paul was affirming, and the other side was denying that "the Christ (Messiah prophesied in these scriptures) had to suffer." Paul could prove this point by appealing to Isaiah 52-54 and Psalm 22, and also many types and shadows of the Old Testament.
If a person is "reasonable," he will not get mad. He will simply show by a reasonable process that the evidence presented does not prove the proposition affirmed. That is "reasoning." Being "unreasonable" would mean that they refuse to consider and answer the proposition affirmed. Many people don't want to face the facts. They have not prepared themselves to handle things objectively.
The other part of Paul's proposition to these Jews was that the Scriptures also show that the Christ would suffer "and rise again from the dead" (Acts 17:3). Did the Scriptures of the Jews affirm this? Yes! He was suffering for our sins (Isaiah 53), and then His days were "prolonged" (Isaiah 53:10). Also, David affirmed that one would not be left in Sheol (the realm of the dead) nor his flesh see corruption (Psalms 16). Jonah served as a type. He was God's messenger, swallowed into certain death and coming forth in three days. In a sense, Isaac was as good as dead for three days, and God gave him back to Abraham on the third day. So, Paul would easily have a strong case. Reasonable people would have attempted to answer this evidence. Instead, many of the Jews resorted to the mob reaction (Acts 17:5-6) because being reasonable was not their practice. But a "great multitude" (Acts 17:4) of Greeks saw the power of Paul's evidence. They knew the Scriptures were a powerful testimony to Jesus being the Messiah.
Reason involves a willingness to hear evidence, test the evidence, and draw a conclusive verdict on its implications. The Old Testament is a Testimony that a Savior and Messiah is coming. The New Testament is a Testimony that the Savior and Messiah have come in Jesus and that we must get ready to meet Him because He is coming again to take true believers home to glory. Have you been reasonable with the evidence?