Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. Acts 17:2-3
Read: Acts 17:1-4
Listen: Acts 17
In Paul’s day, the Jewish tradition of Messiah was one of power, strength and supremacy. Messiah would come and reestablish the Kingdom of Israel as the dominant world power, sweeping away Rome and all other competition. It was simply unacceptable that a servant-Messiah would suffer and die for the salvation of his people.
Entering the synagogue in Thessalonica, Paul opens the Holy Scripture scrolls (likely Isaiah 53:1-12). He begins interacting, explaining and proving to the Jewish men their preconceived idea of the military Messiah-conqueror does not hold up in the Word of God. In fact, the Messiah already came in the person of Jesus, who suffered and died for their iniquities, paid their debt to God and has established an eternal, spiritual kingdom.
Paul presents to them a reasonable (intelligent, logical) faith by showing them what the Scriptures actually teach. He describes from eyewitnesses what happened fifty years earlier in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Some Jews, plus many Greeks and women, are convinced and believe.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
You don’t have to “kiss your brains goodbye” to believe in Jesus. Write in your Strength for the Journey journal (on page 18) facts from Scripture and history that give you confidence. If you’re seeking evidence, two great resources are The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel (book and movie) and The Reason for God by Timothy Keller.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.