Acts 18: 12 Now, at that time, Gallio was the regional governor who ruled over the Roman province of Achaia, and the Jews turned against Paul and came together to seize him and bring him publicly before the governor’s court. 13 They accused him before Gallio, saying, “This man is creating a disturbance by persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our laws.”
In both this mission trip and the previous mission trip, the greatest opposition came from unconverted Jews. If Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, why would they oppose a message about Him?
The Jews had their own expectations of what Messiah would look like. They had not anticipated that He would come twice. They thought Messiah would come as a political leader. The Jews hated being under the thumb of the Romans and wanted to rule themselves. A Messiah could do that for them. They assumed that the Messiah would not die but live forever. When Jesus came as a humble, itinerant rabbi who was killed by the Romans on a shameful cross, He didn’t meet their expectations. They didn’t understand that when He returns, He will rule and live forever.
Paul had been of the same frame of mind before his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). He had opposed Christians and probably started some mob action against them as well. Now, ironically, he was the object of the same opposition that he had perpetrated against Christians. Paul was trained as a Jewish theologian and when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul began to put some things together.
Paul would go onto teach other Jews how, if they would only re-read the Scriptures, they would understand that Jesus was the Messiah. The Jews in Berea had done just that, and they didn’t oppose Paul. Paul had to leave because Thessalonian Jews came in a mob to chase him away. When the Jews refused to consider what Paul said, they would conclude that Paul was teaching something contrary to their laws. The Jews were living under the old covenant, Jesus built upon the covenant but completed it to bring us a new covenant.
Opposition within the church itself is nothing new. It happened in the first century and it is still happening in the 21st century. We must be willing to search Scripture together and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to understand what God wants for us today.
To hear more about Paul and how he persevered, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere