“When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 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. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. 5 But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd.[a] 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.” Acts 17.1-9
I read recently about the Asbury University revival about how a year before the revival happened that students were praying specifically for a global reach. The prayer wasn’t just that Asbury would feel the love of God, but that all of Wilmore, all of Kentucky, all of the USA and all of the world. What we just witnessed over the last 2-3 weeks impacted the whole world. How do know? There was a map put on the stage at Hughes Auditorium locating people who had come to the revival and it involved people from around the globe.
Paul, Silas and Timothy were in Thessalonica, Greece. They were what we might say in Texas as “a far piece” from where they started. From the birth of the Gospel in Galilee, towns not unlike the size of Wilmore, KY, the Gospel had now spread through the Ancient Near East and across the Mediterranean Sea. The impact of Jesus’ ministry and mission was being felt by thousands and sons to be millions.
And as was the pattern in each town, they arrived and preached first at the synagogues — for they were first and foremost Jews. Typically the Word was received and believed by many but inevitably dissension would arise. As it did again in Thessalonica, mobs were raised among “bad characters from the marketplace,” and they came looking for the disciples at the house of a man named Jason. The mobsters complained to the city officials that “those who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here.” Not finding the apostles, the town and it’s officials were thrown into turmoil.
As Paul later writes in Ephesians 6, “our battle is not against flesh and blood.” I wonder how the “spiritual” sky looked just above the heads of the preachers of the Gospel and the crowds of mobsters that day. I can only imagine the flying angels and demons battling for the hearts and souls of people. The global reach of the Gospel will meet with opposition at every turn because God has allowed people to make a choice. And with that choice comes an invitation for evil, for dissenters, for mobsters, for those who would disagree with God’s Gospel of grace.
What happened in Kentucky continues through this season of Lent and is earth shattering and heaven altering. The spirit of revival through the power of the Holy Spirit is spreading and gaining ground. The burning of the fire inside the hearts of people to know God is causing them to hunger and thirst for righteousness and there is nothing Evil can do about it.
Even in the midst of turmoil at every town, Paul and his disciples pursued obedience and making the Gospel message know. They were having a global reach which continues to this day. Have you joined in the efforts of making Christ known? Have you received this Gospel message? Have you shared the Good News with others?
If the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead lives in you then what are you waiting for? Join the movement. Have a global reach for Christ!
“O Lord God, you are good. In the midst of my own struggles, in my insecurities and weakness, you are alive and well. I thank you for the power of the cross and the evidence of your Spirit. Come now, Holy One, fall afresh on me. Allow me to be your hands and feet. Cause me to continue stirring up your Spirit so that the world might know. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen