Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Noble Characters

As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men. When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. The men who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible. 
(Acts 17:10-15)

Interesting little story on my way through reading Acts.  Paul, Silas and Timothy have just been in Thessalonica where the Jews got pretty angry at them.  That's why they were sent off to Berea at night.  Yet when they get there they go straight to the synagogue - they're so focused on the mission Jesus is sending them on to preach the Gospel that even though they've just had a negative experience in Thessalonica, it doesn't phase them in trying again, exactly the same way in Berea.

And the Jews here react differently.  They go to the Scriptures to test what Paul is saying.  I think this is one of the only accounts where the Jews take the Gospel and think "if this is the Word of God then it will line up with the Word we already have, if it does we should listen to God." Usually the Jews have looked at their own traditions first and not cared about what God might actually be doing.  I'm thinking that's why Luke refers to them as "of more noble character".

We need to be the same with the church.  Examining the Scriptures every day to see if what the people in our churches and denominations and cities are saying is true.  If it is then we should receive it 'with great eagerness'.  If not we need to then be preaching a truer Gospel.

But also to note - we should be of noble character and not dismissing something that's different because it's not the way we usually do things.  That's what all the other Jews had been doing, that's why the Thessalonian Jews came and caused trouble in Berea.  Let's always examine the Scriptures, even if we think it may change the way we have always done something.

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