Acts 17:1-15

Today’s devotion is written by Pastor Emily Sterling.

This week is our Mission Camp for children who have completed 3 rd , 4 th , and 5th grades. They will be learning how to serve God through hands-on service to people in our community. We pray that this week will be fun, safe, and spiritually formative for our children.

In Acts 17:1-15, Paul and Silas find themselves in Thessalonica and Beroea. In each location Paul goes to the Jewish synagogue to let the Jews know he is there, after all Paul is still a Jew as well as being a follower of Jesus. He begins teaching in the synagogue about Jesus the Christ.

While in Thessalonica, some of the Jews joined the Jesus movement along with a large number of Greek God-worshippers and quite a few prominent women. Some of the Jews in Thessalonica were jealous of Paul and the positive response he was receiving from the people. They felt that their religious beliefs and customs were being threatened. They stirred up a mob
to go after Paul and Silas. Members of the Jesus movement learned about the mob coming after Paul and Silas. Once it was dark, members of the Jesus movement helped Paul and Silas escape the mob in Thessalonica and head to safety in Beroea.

Jews and Gentiles in Beroea peacefully receive Paul’s message. In Acts 17:12, we read that “many came to believe, including a number of reputable Greek women and many Greek men.” Just when we think the anger has died down, the angry people from Thessalonica hear that Paul and Silas are in Beroea. The angry mob heads to Beroea to rile the people up and to turn
them against Paul in particular. The Jesus followers in Beroea help Paul escape to Athens.

We often talk about the boldness and bravery of the early church leaders – people like Paul and Silas – who continued to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ even in the face of death threats and mob violence.

Let us also celebrate the unnamed, unsung heroes and heroines of the faith who fulfill important supporting roles in the drama of Acts. These Jesus followers acted upon their convictions to do what was right even though it risked their lives and their community standing to do so. The many men AND women who came to believe in Jesus Christ also did their part to
ensure that the gospel message was proclaimed throughout the world. They financially supported the apostles. They offered hospitality to the visiting apostles. They helped the apostles escape perilous situations. They visited the apostles when they were in prison. They continued to meet together as local church communities even after the apostles moved on to new cities. They shared the good news of Jesus Christ with their communities and grew their local churches. Their words and their deeds influenced future generations of Jesus followers.

The vast majority of Jesus followers throughout history are not famous or remembered by name. However, the legacy of their faith lives on today. We are here today and are followers of Jesus today because of their lives and their faithful witnesses.

Who are some of the ordinary, non-famous people who have helped to shape you as a follower of Jesus? How did they influence your faith?

Who are you helping to shape as a follower of Jesus? How are your words, your actions, your love, and your very being helping to influence the faith of the next generations?

Please share your ideas, thoughts, comments, and questions. We want to hear them!

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