10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. 14 The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. 15 Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.
Big View: Person of Peace
Small View: Perception – Preparation – Permanent Relationships
Ministry of Encouragement – Austin TX
Observation: The Jews in the Greek city of Berea were very receptive to the Gospel brought by Paul and Silas to their synagogue. Many of them put their trust in Jesus, as did a number of Greek men and women who were apparently attached to that community. This is remarkable in at least two ways: 1) Paul and Silas had just escaped mob action in Thessalonica. They could have been licking their wounds, in retreat and reluctant about connecting with Jews. Since they were proven adversaries, it probably wouldn’t be safe, they could have decided. Instead, the apostles were immediately re-engaged, out looking for receptivity to the life-saving message of Jesus the Messiah. 2) The Jews in Berea were not locked into disbelief even though the Gospel challenged their assumptions and threatened their traditions (and fulfilled their deepest longings!). Their integrity, demonstrated by their open-minded Scripture-search, and their sincere interest in following the truth wherever it might lead, is shocking, heartening, and re-energizes the mission.
Action: I can be very enthusiastic in my approach to people, but then I sometimes give up too easily. I have a friend and neighbor who is a Muslim. I invited him over for tea one evening. We spent two hours in cordial conversation. It went well. But as I listened to his recitation of Islamic doctrine, I felt discouraged. I felt like we had reached an impasse, in terms of any possible spiritual breakthrough. Jesus is honored yet diminished in the Quran. But then later he told me he would very much like to continue our discussion. This may be “a long drive” in terms of relationship but it is very likely that a man who is highly educated and quite successful, yet displaced and lonely, is more open than I can recognize to the love of Jesus … whose love is nearly irresistible!