Acts 17:1-5
Acts 17:1 (KJB)
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
So Paul and Silas left the house of Lydia in Philippi and they proceeded west to Amphipolis which was about 22 miles (35 km) west of Philippi. From there continued west to Apollonia which was also about 22 miles (35 km) from Amphipolis. From Apollonia they had arrived in Thessalonica which was about 40 miles (64 km). All of this travel was on the Egnatian Way. When they arrived in Thessalonica, they had found a Jewish synagogue there. Their total trip was about 100 miles from Philippi to Thessalonica.
Acts 17:2 (KJB)
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
Reasoned - Discussed or disputed
Whenever Paul went to a city which had a synagogue of the Jews, he would always go there first and as a visiting Rabbi, he would be given the respect by being told to deliver a message. Apparently, the members of this synagogue were not to quick to judge because they allowed him to come back for three Sabbath days to reason with them from the Hebrew Scriptures. This verse contains a very important principle. Today we have all kinds of debates and many times the source for the debate material is some kind of science or other worldly discipline. If you notice, it Paul had used the Scriptures to reason with them and not some commentary. How many times have you discussed something with someone and heard, “My pastor says” or “I read a book by….. And he says?” If we are going to be ambassadors for Heaven, then we need to use the material which came from Heaven, which is the Scriptures, and then the Holy Spirit will either open their eyes or let them stay in darkness.
Acts 17:3 (KJB)
Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
Opening - Expounding or explaining
Alleging - Place before, point out, or demonstrate
The Jews and the believing Gentiles in the synagogue believed in a Messiah and knew that he was to come to Israel. Paul capitalized upon their anticipatory belief by immediately speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul had expounded the Scriptures and no doubt the prophetic ones like Isaiah 53 where it speaks about the suffering of Messiah. Then as he expounded these Scriptures, he laid it all out for them which a good teacher does. A good teacher takes a complex subject and simplifies it for his audience. Paul teaches them that the Lord Jesus had to suffer because it was for the sins of His people that He died for and once that sacrifice was complete and He was dead, He was laid in the tomb. He arose from the dead on the third day which meant God the Father gave his approval to the sacrifice. He states that all of this was done by Jesus and that the one he is preaching about is the Christ or the Messiah. All things were fulfilled by Him according to the Scriptures.
Acts 17:4 (KJB)
And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
Consorted - Joined themselves
This verse is not giving us a single event on one day but over a period of several months. It is like a summary of their ministry in Thessalonica. It states that a great multitude had believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only did a number of prominent Greek men believe but also their wives had believed. (1 Th 2:2 KJV) But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. Paul did not allow what happened to them at Philippi affect their ministry in Thessalonica. He knew that it was a different place and a different crowd. God would take care of them in every situation as He proved that in Philippi. As the verse states, Paul had spoken very boldly to the Thessalonians and as a result of the bold proclamation of the Gospel, many had believed. They were very gentle among these new believers but were also firm in their proclamation of truth.
Acts 17:5 (KJB)
But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
Lewd - Wicked, evil, or depraved
Baser sort - Idlers, or those who frequent the marketplace
Some of the Jews who lived there did not believe and it shows you that no matter how strongly the Gospel is preached nor how many believe can change one who is not the Elect of God. They will remain with a hard heart. These unsaved Jews were envious at the amount of people who were believing the Gospel. Many of them probably had left the synagogue and that meant the donations would be down. So the Jews, in order to create a mob, took to themselves some wicked men and those who were idlers and lurked around the marketplace, like those who refuse to work today who just hang around on street corners. As they brought these men into a crowd, they began to start whipping up the city into a frenzy against the Gospel and eventually against Paul and his company. The mob then moved on the house of Jason. He was no doubt a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and this mob was so violent that they would go into a house and pull the people out. They had hoped that Paul and Silas would have been in the house but they were not there. Normally the Jews would have nothing to do with Gentiles unless it would help their cause as in this instance. It does not take much for those who lead a mob to get what they want from the mob. So they apprehended Jason and his household and brought them out to the mob.