Monday, November 11, 2013

Introduction to the First Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians

“WHERE IS HE?!” The enraged mob, filled with brutes and thugs, kicked open Jason’s door and dragged him out of his house into the torch-lit street.
“Www-where is who?” Jason stammered.
"PAUL, THE BLASPHEMER. WHERE IS HE?!” While a few men held Jason in the street, the others rushed into his house. The “lewd fellows,” as Acts 17 calls them, ransacked Jason’s house. While he stood bound in the street on this dark night in Thessalonica, Jason watched in brokenness as his belongings were crushed and smashed. They left nothing undamaged. The pottery was shattered, the garments were shredded, the couch and the bed were dashed to pieces. This night was a costly night for this man. What had he done?
He was dragged off to prison, where the accusations were leveled against him and a few other brothers. After posting bond, they were released to return to their homes, that by now had been pilfered for any remaining goods that were not damaged. What a costly night. All had been destroyed. What had been his crime? He had believed. He had become a Christian. That was all. The Jewish leaders had brutalized him for it, and the Roman authorities had played along.
Where was Paul? It was simply Providence that had kept Paul from being at Jason’s house that night. Word spread quickly through the night and came to Paul and Silas.
He had only been teaching for a few weeks. The church there in Thessalonica was literally, only a few weeks old. Now, because of impending persecution, Paul had to flee in the darkness of night. When would he return? How would the church ever be able to continue in sound doctrine? How would they ever mature? Having their spiritual father snatched from them at such a young age, would they ever thrive?
Scripture tells us that the church did continue, and that persecution in this church also continued. Paul would not be able to return to the young church any time soon, but word did come to Paul about the church. He must have been thrilled to hear that even though he was not there with them, they were continuing to grow in their faith.
After receiving a full update on the condition of the young church from Timothy, Paul decided to write a letter of encouragement and of doctrine to the believers in Thessalonica.
God loved the believers there in Thessalonica. They were His chosen people, and in His love, He had used His servant Paul to write this great letter to His people. God loves believers today, and in His love for us, He preserved His Truth in this first epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians. May we constantly look to Him as Author and Sustainer as we journey together through First Thessalonians.

Food For Thought: Read Acts 17:10-14. When Paul fled Thessalonica he travelled for forty miles to Berea. What happened in Berea after Paul arrived there?