Acts 17: 1-9
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.
But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.” And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
Fear of the unknown, jealousy, change, placing mankind above God all have a part in this scene. Fear perhaps is the overriding factor. It has as a consequence the evidence of jealousy, unwillingness to change, not wanting to step out of a place of comfort or familiarity. Scripture says love casts out all fear. If we are unwilling to accept the love God extends to us we find ourselves captive to fear and all its manifestations. Many turned to Christ, believing the word being delivered by Paul and Silas. However there were those who did not and found this new belief presented to them to be a challenge to the day-to-day life they lived. It called for change, it presented a new way to think and do. This change in those who accepted, challenged the authority and position of the Jews who did not accept it. People leaving a faith brings fear of loss to those still in it and jealousy arises. Jealousy is a destructive force that is willing to use violence to gain its objectives. In its reaction, it also presents the possibility that the very thing it is jealous of has power to defeat it. And God’s protection rested over Jason and the brothers.
What is the take away? When we share we can expect just such a reaction. It is not rational and further emphasizes our need to rely and trust in the Lord we serve. Keeping our focus on Him and what He has for us to do keeps us from buying into the fear that could rise up. Fear not, a phrase often used by Jesus. Fear not.