Thessalonica. We’ll get a bit more into the specifics about that location tomorrow as we look into Paul’s letters to that church, but there is one interesting point that I want to draw out from today’s reading about Paul’s initial visit there.
In verse 11, Luke tells us that the people of Beroea were more open-minded than the people at Thessalonica. That may not seem like a very important statement, but as I was reading about the reaction of those two sets of people I came to think that it is in fact a very important statement. I don’t know about you, but I have found that some people are very open minded about faith, God and Jesus, while other people want nothing to do that sort of conversation. While we often as Christians talk about people’s hearts when it comes to faith stuff, we must not forget that their mind is very much engaged in the process. People have thoughts about religious things and some are more open minded than others.
Let me point out two things from today’s reading. First, twice in today’s reading we find that Paul reasoned with his audience. First in Acts 17:2 and then again in Acts 17:17. Paul explained to them that Jesus fulfilled the scriptures with his death and resurrection.
Secondly, we read in Acts 17:4, “some of them were persuaded”. Persuasion is a logic exercise, not an emotional one. Paul laid out the truth of who Jesus was and they were convinced that what he was saying was the truth.
I point this out for a reason. In 2 Timothy 4:2 Paul writes: “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” We must be prepared to reason with people, to show them the intellectual reasons for believing in Jesus. We must recognize that part of sharing the good new of Jesus with people means telling them the reasons that we believe, both from scripture and from our own experience.
Having faith in Jesus is not illogical, in fact some of the greatest defenders of the Christian faith in our day came to believe when they set out to disprove the logic and reason of the Christian faith. Lee Strobel is a wonderful example of this. If you want to do some reading to hone your reasoning skills when it comes to your faith, then any of Lee Strobel’s books are very good.
We must remember that the Bible tells us to love God with all of our heart, soul, MIND and strength. When we tell people about Jesus, we must take care to minster to their minds as well.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: 1 & 2 Thessalonians