This study examines Acts chapter 17 in conjunction with Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians, the earliest New Testament letters. Beginning with a historical overview of the city of Thessalonica, Sharon examines Daniel 9, demonstrating the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecy delivered to Daniel by the angel Gabriel to come in 490 years. The same angel Gabriel announced the conception of John the Baptist to his old father Zechariah as the one who would herald the way of the long awaited Messiah. The Angel Gabriel is the same angel who declared to Mary that she would bear the anointed one, the Messiah, a 490 day time period from conception to presentation in the temple. By outlining the true Messianic kingship of Jesus, Sharon goes on to show how Paul could not ignore the lordship of Jesus Christ. He felt an incredible urgency to spread the message of the Christ, willing to endure incredible sufferings for the sake of the Gospel. Paul and his fellow disciples, “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6) as they traveled from city to city, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. The life of the Church recapitulates the life of Christ, who through His death and resurrection had all ready turned the world upside down. Paul is up against a tough crowd of Jews in Thessalonica. While many of the Thessalonians do not accept the gospel message, some of them do, along with Greek Gentiles and several leading women. The Beroean Jews are more receptive to Paul’s message, testing his preaching daily against the Old Testament scriptures and holding fast to what they find to be true. The jealous Jews from Thessalonica pursue Paul to diminish his ministry in Beroea, and to avoid death he swiftly left by sea to Athens, the intellectual Mecca of Greece. In Athens, many philosophers are curious about his message but most find Jesus to be nothing more than a curiosity. Sharon exhorts us to action, emphasizing that the Word of God must transform us, making that longest journey: the 18 inches from head to heart, provoking us to internalize Christ, propelling us to evangelize and transform the world around us.
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Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.
“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:www.seekingtruth.net