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.” (Acts 17:6–9)
History can, and often does, repeats itself. Predicting the future can be as easy as studying the past in order to comprehend the present.
In the case of Paul, Silas and Timothy, what happened to them, directly and indirectly, in Philippi also occurred in Thessalonica. Opponents to the Gospel were not discreet or demure regarding their opposition. They dragged Jason, presumably Paul’s hospitable host, and some other Christians before the city magistrates. The Jews said, “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.”
There is a Yiddish Proverb which says, “A half-truth is a whole lie.” The Jews were speaking half-truths. True, the world was being turned upside down because of the Gospel. True, Paul, Silas and Timothy had indeed come to Thessalonica to preach the Gospel. True, Jason had received them. However, what was not true was that the missionaries were all acting against the decrees of Caesar. Jesus was not just another earthly king like Caesar. He is the King of kings because He is the eternal God (John 1:1-2). Human kings are mere mortal men.
The Jews got the results they wanted. Those who speak half-truths often do. The people of Thessalonica, along with the city authorities, were disturbed, riotous and greatly distressed. An interesting thing then occurred. Acts 17:9 says, “And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.”
Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “The crowd and the politarchs were in turmoil (etaraxan, “agitated, disturbed, troubled”; cf. John 11:33; Acts 16:20) probably because they could not find Paul and Silas (17:6), the source of the city’s problem. Probably the bond-posting was to guarantee that Paul and Silas would leave town and not return. If more trouble arose, Jason and the others would lose their money. This may explain why Paul was prohibited from returning (1 Thess. 2:18). In spite of this, the Christians at Thessalonica kept on boldly proclaiming the gospel (1 Thess. 1:7–10; cf. 2:14–16).”
When people discover the whole truth contained in the Gospel, they no longer tolerate the half-truths of its opponents. What is true regarding the Gospel is also true with respect to the entire Word of God. Do not settle for the half-truths of the current contemporary culture, and its influence upon the church. Hold fast to the eternal truth of God’s Word (John 17:17).
Soli deo Gloria!