Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:…
I. HIS WORK. The synagogue was here again the scene of labor; the substance of the evangel again the theme of his discourse.
1. This is in contents ever the same; founded on the Scriptures. His special function as an apostle did not set him free from the authority of the past. Religion at any epoch is the fulfillment of all that has gone before and the prophecy of all that is to be. But let us beware of the slavery of the letter, and seek the truth of the freely developing Spirit. Fresh light and truth are to break forth at every epoch from the Scriptures. Preaching culminates in Christ. The Messiah must suffer and rise. Paul had no other theme than the crucified and risen One. The triumph of the spiritual element in mankind in and through, in spite of and over, suffering, - this is the eternal message of Christianity to mankind.
2. The results the same. Some believe, others not. The good ground for the seed is there or it is not there. Vain to seek to penetrate below this mystery. Women again are specially named as favorable to the gospel. It is fair to argue that, when the feelings and the intuitions lead the judgment, the verdict will be for Christ and his religion. Divine grace does not court those in high station; certainly it does not repel them.
II. THE BEARING OF THE ENEMIES OF THE GOSPEL.
1. Instinctive perversion of the truth. As before, jealousy, whether proceeding from self-interest or sectarian pride, attacks the apostles. Their enemies would misrepresent the emissaries of peace, as public disturbers and revolutionaries.
2. Glaring inconsistency. They commit the very offence of which they accuse the apostles. They play on the feelings of the mob. It is a sign of weakness or of insincerity when men must drag the fickle multitude into such questions. The mob may be turned momentarily to any account. If they favor the gospel, they are despised as stupid (John 7:47-49). If they can be stirred up against it, their clamor is equally used as evidence.
III. THE EPISODE or HOSPITALITY. Good Jason shelters these dangerous guests. The guest who is loved and cherished in spite of danger to the host, will bring a blessing on the head of the latter. Be mindful of hospitality - the true hospitality, which gives without asking in return (Hebrews 13:2). - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: