Thursday, October 4, 2018
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO Acts ~ Chapter 17
Now Saul (Paul) and Silas journeyed through Amphipolis and Appollonia until they came to Thessalonica.
Here there was a Jewish synagogue. According to custom, Paul went in among them, and on three successive Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures. He opened up the Scriptures, trying to show that it was necessary for the Mashiach (Christ) to suffer and to rise up again from the dead, and he said, “The Yeshua (Jesus), Whom I preach to you, is the Mashiach!” Some of them became believers and joined Saul and Silas. There were many Greeks among the worshippers, and several prominent women.
Now the Jews who refused to believe, stirred by jealousy, got some wicked rowdies to join them, then gathered a mob and set the city in an uproar. They attacked the house of Jason, hoping to find Saul and Silas there and bring them out to the people. When they did not find them there, they dragged Jason and some other brethren before the city magistrates and shouted, ‘These fellows who are creating confusion all over the world have come here, too! And they have been at Jason’s. They say that there is another King – Yeshua – and they are thus acting contrary to the orders of the emperor.’ When the mob and the city fathers heard this, they were troubled. As to Jason, and the others, they put them under bonds to keep the peace, and then let them go.
The brethren at once sent Saul and Silas away by night to Berea, and on reaching there they went to the Jewish synagogue. The people there were more noble-minded than those at Thessalonica, for they were more eager to hear the Word and searched the Scriptures to see if these things were so. In fact, many of them therefore became believers, including some very respectable Greek women as well as men. But when the Jews at Thessalonica heard that the Word of Elohei (God) was being preached by Saul in Berea, they also came there to stir up the crowds against him. The brethren then at once sent Saul away towards the coast, but both Silas and Timothy remained there.
Those who accompanied Saul brought him as far as Athens, then went back, taking along orders from him that Silas and Timothy should come to him as soon as possible.
Then, while Saul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit within him was painfully provoked as he saw that the city was given to idol worship. He discussed the matter with the Jews and their fellow worshippers in the synagogue, and likewise daily in the marketplace with people whom he met there. Then he ran up against some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. Some of them said, ‘What do you suppose this chatterbox has to say?’ Others said, ‘He seems to be preaching some strange gods.’ They noted that he was preaching to them the Gospel of Yeshua and the resurrection.
They then took him and brought him up to the Areopagus (Mars Hill), and said, ‘may we know what this new teaching is that you are proclaiming? For you are surely bringing some strange things to our ears. So we want to know just what these things may mean.’ The Athenians and visitors from abroad likewise spent their leisure time in nothing more than telling something new or hearing about it. Then Saul, standing in the middle of the Areopagus, spoke to them: “Men of Athens, I see that you are in every way very religious. For as I was walking about and taking note of the things you worship, I came across an altar with this inscription [To an Unknown God]; though you do not know Him, still you hold Him in reverence, and it is he Whom I no proclaim to you. The God Who created the world and everything in it is Lord of heaven and earth and does not dwell in temples made of human hands. Nor is He served by the hands of man as though He needed anything, for He has Himself given all life, breath, and every good thing. From one blood He made all the races now living on the whole face of the earth, after having beforehand determined when and where they should live. They were to seek Adonai. Though He is never far from any of us, yet they might perhaps be groping for Him, hoping they might find Him. Yes, it is in Him that we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘for also we are His offspring’. Now since we are Elohei’s offspring, we ought not to think of the Deity as being like gold or silver or stone, shaped by man’s artistry and imagination. Elohei has indeed overlooked such times of ignorance, but now He calls on all men everywhere to repent. Now He has set a day on which He will judge the people of the world with justice, through a Man Whom He has appointed, and to all He has furnished proof of this by raising Him from the dead.”
Some scoffed when they heard him mention the resurrection of the dead, but others said, ‘We shall hear you again about that.’ And with that, Saul went away from the meeting.
There were some, too, who became believers and joined him, among whom were Dionysius – a member of the Areopagus Council; and a woman by the name of Damaris, and also some others.