(1 Thess. 2:1-2 ESV) For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.
Paul’s missionary trip to Philippi is recounted in Acts 16. It was there that he and Silas were imprisoned and ultimately converted the Philippian jailer.
Chapter 17 recounts the founding of the church in Thessalonika —
(Acts 17:1-10 ESV) Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.
5 But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. 6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. 9 And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.
The accusation that Paul and Silas taught “that there is another king, Jesus” was likely accurate enough, even though they did not teach rebellion against the Caesar.
It’s interesting that so much opposition arose from among the Jews. It’s not entirely obvious why the Jews would have been jealous of Paul (or Jesus) as neither would have urged the closure of the synagogue. The Jews had been praying for a Messiah for centuries. Why did Jesus so upset them? Continue reading