Can you imagine?
After only three Sabbaths of preaching, many come to know the Lord, and a new church is birthed.
The local religious leaders are jealous. They are so enraged, they run the preacher out of town.
But the young church continues to meet, and now a letter from the preacher has arrived.
But that preacher wasn’t just any preacher, and that church wasn’t just any church.
And the road that had led the Apostle Paul to Thessalonica had been no accident.
Paul had been preaching, in what is modern day Turkey, when the Holy Spirit stopped him, not once, but twice, changing his direction.
Paul, Silas and Timothy find themselves in the port city of Troas when Paul has a vision in the night of a Macedonian man pleading with him to come there and help them. (Acts 16:6-10)
The Holy Spirit had put them in the right place, at the right time, to hop on a boat and head to Europe.
There they meet Lydia, in Philippi, who becomes the first believer in Europe. (Acts 16:11-15).
In Philippi, Paul casts out demons and he and Silas end up being beaten and thrown in jail, when, as they sing hymns to God, an earthquake loosens their chains, but they stay put, and the jailer is famously saved. (Acts 16:16-34)
They leave there and head to Thessalonica.
For three Sabbaths, Paul preaches in the Jewish synagogue using the scriptures to show the people that Jesus is the Christ.
Some of the Jews were persuaded, and a great multitude of Greeks and leading women joined them. (Acts 17:1-5)
Three powerful Sabbath days of preaching had birthed the church at Thessalonica and it would become a base for the spread of the gospel in Macedonia and Greece.
The enraged Jewish religious leaders cried, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” (Acts 17:6)
Paul and Silas escape Thessalonica by night and continue their journey to Athens and Corinth.
It is from Corinth, that Paul is believed to have penned his famous letter to the young church in Thessalonica. This letter is probably one of Paul’s earliest epistles (perhaps coming after his letter to the Galatians).
Those young believers gathered in church homes and passed the letter around. Can you imagine how they must have hung on every word?
Oh friend! We have that letter! We can read those living words! They are meant for us too!
Paul encourages the new believers with doctrine and application. He will challenge them to persevere despite persecution, to “increase in and abound in love” (1 Thess 3:12) He will encourage them with a detailed explanation of Christ’s return.
They will respond with zeal, and Christianity will continue to spread like wildfire.
And these thousands of years later, those Holy Spirit inspired words are meant to encourage and challenge us as well.
In these hard days, may the words of that first letter to the Thessalonians inspire us to hold on to truth and abound in love so that others will see the Lord in us and want what we have.
Oh, let’s read First Thessalonians together!
May God use these words for our hearts for such a time as this!
I’ll be posting as I study each day. Join me! Read with me! Let’s ask God to speak to our hearts and help us encourage each other! I so appreciate your prayers and insightful comments.
If you wish to receive this devotional in your email inbox, go to https://kimjaggers.com/blog-2/ and click follow. And I’d so appreciate your prayers as I study and write. ❤️