Reading: No scheduled reading
Summary: Once again we have scheduled a to catch up if you’ve fallen behind in your reading. This one is for the third week of September. Otherwise, below are some thoughts for your consideration for today from this past week’s readings.
- The city of Thessalonica played an important role in the region of Macedonia as the chief city of the region and the seat of Roman administration. The city also enjoyed a strategic location having an excellent harbor as well as being located on the primary overland route to the east from Rome, the famous Roman highway–Egnatian Way.
- Thessalonica is sometimes remembered negatively because Paul’s experience in Berea, the town to which he fled following the threat of violence at Thessalonica. Luke speaks to the noble mindedness of the Bereans in receiving the gospel, especially compared to the Thessalonians (Acts 17:11). It should be remembered that there were several conversions at Thessalonica—obviously—and that Luke’s reference is specifically to the Jews of the synagogue in Berea.
- How interesting to consider Paul’s work in Macedonia and Greece being instigated by the Lord (the “Macedonian call”) and yet his encountering so much opposition and resistance at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth and apathy at Athens. Doing God’s work does not mean that all will go smoothly and bumps in the road are no reason to stop the journey.
For what do we wish to be known as followers of Jesus Christ? How do we want people to see us? Superior Bible knowledge? Great piety? Member of a strong church?
Jesus said the world’s perception of us as His followers would come through the love we possess for each other (John 13:35).
Think about what the Bible says about this love. As famously described and defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, this love is what every Christian is to have for others, not just husbands and wives.
Our cleansing from sin through obedience to the truth is not an end in itself, as important as it is. But that purification is “for a sincere brotherly love” so we may “love one another from a pure heart” (1 Pet. 1:22).
Love is the pinnacle of Christian virtues. It is greater than faith and hope (1 Cor. 13:13). It is “above all these”; “these” being compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness (Col. 3:12-14).
No wonder Paul was so ecstatic over the Thessalonians. His desire for them was that they would “increase and abound in love for one another” (1 Thess. 3:12). What he later learned was that indeed “the love of every one of you for one another is increasing” (2 Thess. 1:3).
Is the very thing Jesus wishes to identify me as His follower the same thing I want others to know about me as His disciple?