On the Run
November 3 - Nº 307 Acts 17:1-15; Philippians 4:15-16
Realizing they were no longer safe, Paul and Silas left Philippi and traveled about three days on foot to Thessalonica. They were sad to leave, but they stayed connected with the believers who met in Lydia’s home. After Paul and his companions departed, Lydia and her friends sent them money so they could continue their ministry in other cities. As he often did when he came to a new town, Paul entered the synagogue in Thessalonica. For three weeks in a row, he attended Sabbath services and taught the congregation about Jesus. He explained that Jesus was the Messiah they were praying for. Some of the Jews and many Greeks believed what he said. But this upset the other Jews. They decided to destroy this Christian movement before it became too popular. So, they rounded up some rowdy thugs who were hanging out at the marketplace. They convinced them to start a riot in opposition to what Paul and Silas were teaching. When the mob leaders discovered that Paul and Silas were staying in the home of a man named Jason, they rushed to his house. But Paul and Silas were not there. So, the angry mob grabbed Jason and some other believers, dragged them out of the house, and took them to the marketplace. When they were in front of the city officials, they started yelling, “The same men who have caused trouble all over the world have come to our city! They are traitors who admit they worship another king beside Caesar. And this man named Jason has welcomed them into his home!” The city officials couldn’t decide what to do. They finally demanded a large amount of bail before they set Jason and the other Christians free. That night, the believers snuck Paul and Silas out of the city. The two men fled about 45 miles away to a city called Berea. As soon as they arrived, they headed straight to the Jewish synagogue as they always did. The Bereans were eager to hear what Paul had to say. They knew the Old Testament well and fact-checked everything he taught them to make sure it was right. When they found that everything he said was true, many Jews as well as Greeks put their faith in Jesus. When the Jews from Thessalonica learned that Paul and Silas were now teaching in other cities, they followed them to Berea and started agitating the crowds that had gathered to hear him. The new believers immediately rushed to get Paul out of the city. But Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. The men who helped Paul escape escorted him to Athens and left him there to hide. The plan was for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as they could. But Paul did not want to stay in hiding until they arrived. While he was waiting for his companions to show up, he took a walk around Athens. He was distressed to see so many idols dedicated to so many different gods. It wasn’t long before he went to a synagogue to tell the people about Jesus.
Paul never knew where God would lead him each day. And he certainly did not know the circumstances God would use to get him there. But Paul knew his final destination was heaven. Are you willing to let your life become a road trip with God? Are you willing to trust Him to map out the stops along the way?