We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 1 Thessalonians 2:2 NIV
When Pam and I were first married, I worked as a cellphone installer technician. Wow, it is hard to believe that cell phones were primarily limited to staying in the cars. Anyways, I would listen to the Christian radio station in the work bay which had a few salespersons walking around, but no customers. One day the manager told me, that I could not listen to that station any longer.
I was frustrated. I had endured listening to a lot of other secular stations. So, the next day, I asked him to give it to me in writing. Whoa, did I upset the apple cart. It went through several levels of corporate HR staffing. I did not realize how much of a squeeze it had put on the manager. No writing came. He apologized and asked me to be more sensitive. I readily complied. I wasn’t trying to offend, I just didn’t like being singled out.
When Paul and Silas were in Philippi they were physically beaten and put in jail. The beating was with a Roman rod which when used was to add to the public humiliation and shame for the individual. It was against Roman law to exert this type of punishment on a Roman citizen without a trial. The officials begged for forgiveness and also asked them to leave the city. They traveled to Thessalonica next.
What caused such an uproar that Paul was beaten? Sharing the gospel about Jesus. To the Jew, it was offensive to claim that Jesus was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, whom they worshipped. He also taught that the ceremonial laws were fulfilled in Jesus and no longer a requirement for obtaining righteousness before God. They hated what Paul was doing as he influenced others to become followers of The Way.
The Gentiles followers turned from following idols to worship the one true God. This affected their whole economy of the city which centered around sacrifices and idol worship. People changing their allegiance to God has always been and will be divisive. It did not stop Paul and neither should it thwart the followers of Jesus.
Today’s Mediation points
- What has been the most focused persecution or rejection that you have endured in sharing the gospel?
- Paul mentions that boldness in God helped them share the gospel after the persecution.
- Have you experienced boldness when sharing about Jesus?
- How do you personally connect with the boldness of God?
- How would you teach someone else to connect with boldness a it relates to witnessing? Hint, the Holy Spirit will be a major part of that conversation.
- When was the last time that you were able to share the plan of salvation with someone?
- If you felt a prompting to start a conversation with someone, but failed to do it. Can you identify what caused the intimidation or hesitation?
- Do some research about present day persecuted Christians to help you pray for them with understanding.
Most of us look for the “Get Out of Jail” free card with this statement. BUT I AM NOT PAUL OR SILAS. This is true. However, Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that ALL His followers would become witnesses to His life and resurrection. The greek word for witness is “martyria” as you can see it is the foundation for martyr. As a witness for Jesus you will be totally identified as His.
Find a way to share how your life intersected with His in the context of your own sphere of influence. There is a joy that awaits followers who engage in witnessing for Jesus. May you experience this joy on a regular basis.
Blessings Love y’all