April 28, 2020 – Tuesday
Acts 17:2-4 NIV
2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
3 explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said.
4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas,as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
Last Thursday we looked at Acts 16:23-24 where Paul and Silas were flogged, thrown into prison, and had their feet fastened in the stocks. While the word persecution was not used, this was surely persecution. God saw that they were not only set free, but that the jailer and his family and servants all came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Today we only move into the next chapter (17) to find persecution active once again as a result of Paul and Silas sharing God’s word in a Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica as noted in the verses for today. No, those verses do not show persecution, but those that followed do.
5 But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” 8When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.
Doesn’t sound like much as you read it does it? At least not compared to Paul and Silas flogging and being thrown into prison, right? Still Jason and some other believers were dragged out of his house for the crime of welcoming Jesus’ missionaries into Jason’s house. And it was treated as a crime. Jason and others were made to post bond before they were let go.
Today, in the United States, we have bakers who are cake decorators and florists who are persecuted for their Christian faith. Doesn’t seem like much, but they have been run out business, vilified, and spent their personal fortunes defending their actions in court. So what happened to Jason and some of his fellow believers echoes into our lives twenty centuries later. Today we still claim a king other than Caesar. Our king is still Jesus, but today’s Caesar is whatever social media, public opinion, and political correctness decrees it is.
Oddly enough we hear no more of Jason except in Paul’s greeting in Romans 16:21 where we find he was a kinsman of Paul’s or a fellow Jew. So what to make of this? First of all you don’t have to be a missionary or an evangelist as Paul and Silas were to have persecution find you. You simply have to be a supporter of those who are missionaries and evangelists and be found out as a supporter. That is what happened to Jason and his fellow believers.
One wonders what actions followed for Jason and fellow believers, but the story of Acts continues without letting us know. What is important was that he did welcome those bringing the wonderful message proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah. Whether we support missionaries personally or through our churches it is something we should all be doing in assisting in Jesus’ Great Commission.
18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28)
May we stand firm on God’s Word in all the days of our lives or as Paul later said in one of his letters to the Thessalonians believers:
So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton