Scripture Reading: Acts 17:1-9
“And when they could not find them (Paul and Silas), they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king, Jesus.'” (Acts 17:6,7)
Just as Paul and Silas had met opposition and suffering in Philippi, so was the case when they arrived in Thessalonica. Evidently the missionaries remained in Thessalonica for several months and most of the converts there were Gentiles as is evidenced from the two epistles Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. Luke concentrates on their ministry to the Jews which lasted only three weeks (v. 3).
The gospel was the primary subject of Paul’s teaching and preaching ministry. He reasoned from the Scriptures explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead and that Jesus is this risen Christ (v. 3). Some of the Jews believed and joined the many Greeks who had been converted (v. 4). Other Jews became jealous and incited a riot. When they could not find Paul and his companions, they brought charges against Jason and some of the brethren for receiving the missionaries. Paul and Silas were sent away by night to Berea (v. 10).
What stands out in the passage is what these angry Jews said about Paul and Silas: “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” (v. 20). To some degree they were right — Paul and Silas were the messengers. But what really turned the world upside down was the message — the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). Paul and Silas knew they had been entrusted with the gospel and they were faithful in proclaiming it. In his first epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul wrote: “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (I Thessalonians 2:4).
The gospel is the power of God to turn the world upside down. It is the only means of salvation and its power changes the hearts of men and women. All who faithfully proclaim the gospel are world-changers. Let’s be some of them!
Lord Jesus, I know that the gospel is the power of God for my salvation. Its message changes us from the inside out. I pray that today I will have an opportunity to tell someone else about its power to change individual hearts and its power to change the world.
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