Acts 17:10 That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea; and when they arrived, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, including not a few Greek women and men of high standing.
The Jews in Thessalonica became jealous of Paul and Silas’ ministry. In their frustration they went to find them, could not and so went after Jason, the man who was hosting them. He was dragged into jail and harassed because of his support of these missionaries. That night the believers in Thessalonica sent Paul and Silas off and they went to Beroea.
While the Jews in Thessalonica responded with emotion — jealousy and anger, the ones in Beroea took time to listen and thoughtfully reflect on what they were being taught. They knew the scriptures and so they examined Paul and Silas’ teaching in light of what they already knew. This was a completely different reaction from those in Thessalonica, many of whom became believers.
Sadly it didn’t turn out as nice as we would like because the people in Thessalonica heard what was happening in Beroea and came over to stir things up. The new believers had to send Paul away to save his life but Silas and Timothy remained. Their thoughtful attitude allowed them to reflect seriously on the word and it became transformational. They would not be ruled by their emotions, but would allow God to lead.
These two responses are ones that we encounter as well. There are those who engage with the scriptures in a shallow way and who are prone to an emotional response. This overreaction may result in those who argue out of ignorance but all stemming from an emotional engagement. These were the Jews of Thessalonica. They were more concerned about their reputations and the way that Paul’s popularity made them feel than they were about thoughtfully reflecting on what he had to say.
The people of Beroea didn’t let emotion win the day, but took the time to ask questions and seriously think about what he was sharing.
There is a word of caution to be found here, one that encourages us be careful in how quickly we respond to issues and/or people we encounter. It’s easy to become one of the crowd of Thessalonica. We hear bits and pieces of things and we jump to conclusions. Instead of taking time to thoughtfully reflect on what is really being said or done, we want to run people out of town.
When we take the time to listen and thoughtfully reflect we can become like the people of Beroea. Their lives were transformed as they became faithful followers of God. We are invited into this kind of relationship with our Lord when we take time to know him more.
Take the time to slow down and thoughtfully examine a situation before jumping to an emotional response. The result may not be what we expect but the experience may be become personally transformational.
Lord, thank you for opportunities to learn more about you. Help me to be open to being stretched. Amen.
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