Converts were coming to Christ like wildfire. Paul and Silas were preaching the Word. They were sowing the seed of the kingdom. Paul had visited the synagogue on three different occasions proclaiming Jesus as the Christ. Using scripture as solid proof, he taught the people about the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Jews and Greeks responded to the message. Then we find these words: “But the Jews were jealous: so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd” (Acts 17:5).
Jason was a good man. He invited Paul and Silas to stay in his home while they were preaching in Thessalonica. The lynching squad could not find the preachers. They made a public spectacle of Jason and other Christians by making them post a bond before they were let go.
We are reminded of what a poison jealousy is. Many good and honest hearts have set out on the journey to spread the good news only to find positive response coupled with negative jealousy. My gift reminds me that we must learn to take the good with the bad. Let me give you an example of the wonderful attitude of mission in the apostle Paul’s life. Look at what he did as he continued on his spiritual quest to preach the gospel to a bewildered and dying world.
“As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue” (Acts 17:10).
Do you see it, friends? They would not quit. Jealousy would not stop the message. God would bless them with some wonderful results for not giving up.
“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” (Acts 17:11-12).
Well, it wasn’t long until the jealous folks heard and they headed to Berea to stir up more confusion. Paul moved on with his heart full of the love of God. It is evident that jealous hearts were just moving honest and sincere hearts to a different location. As sincere hearts moved, the gospel spread. God had it all in control as He guided the devoted hearts of the faithful.
In the church today there are those who make an attempt to divide and hesitate progress through the method of jealousy. Actually, they are not hindering anything. Sincere hearts will still reach people who need to know Jesus. God is still in control.
“Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4)
The answer to this question is: Sincere hearts full of the love of God.
- Rick Woodall is the minister for the Yorktown Road church of Christ in Logansport Indiana. His weekly devotional message, Life Thoughts, can be found through this address: http://mysite.verizon.net/yorktownroadchurchofchrist/