Acts 17:11 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica,<sup class="crossreference" value="(T)”> for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures<sup class="crossreference" value="(U)”> every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
If you’re like me your interest in the truth depends on what it’s about. I like to know the truth about what’s going on in the world. Knowing the truth about your neighbour is always interesting. Knowing the truth about yourself is a totally different matter. Sadly, abandoning a flattering lie about myself and accepting the harder truth has always been a difficult struggle for me. Yet it is the narrow path to peace and freedom from your lying self.
In Thessalonica the people responded with anger and jealousy to the Gospel. Paul; ” . . . reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer<sup class="crossreference" value="(E)”> and rise from the dead.<sup class="crossreference" value="(F)”> ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,’ ” (Acts 17:2,3) Some believed, many others got angry and made trouble. They created a riot and blamed it on Paul and Silas; “These men who have caused trouble all over the world<sup class="crossreference" value="(M)”> have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” (Acts 17:6,7)
The Gospel causes trouble. The Gospel goes against Caesar’s decrees. The Gospel talks about a King greater than Caesar. People who preach the Gospel are trouble makers. Does any of this sound familiar? It happened then. It happens now. The world hasn’t changed. It hates the Gospel and responds with violence and trouble. The world then lies and puts blame on the innocent. Jesus told us plainly; “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)
Those in Berea were interested in the truth. They searched for the truth. They wanted to know it. They didn’t just accept what someone said they checked it out in scripture. They knew that scripture was the only sure way to assess the validity of someone’s claims. Barnes’ Notes describes them in this way; “They listened attentively and respectfully to the gospel. They did not reject and spurn it as unworthy of examination. This is the first particular in which they were more noble than those in Thessalonica.”
What are we interested in today? Truth? Money? Fun? God? Love? Sacrifice? Do we truly want the answers to those questions about ourselves. A noble character does not seek to hide the dirt by dressing in fine robes but rather seeks to be washed clean. As members of the body of Christ, should we not also have this noble desire; a desire to seek His truth that He might wash our character clean; “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, . . . ” (Ephesians 5:26)
Jesus tells us plainly; “If you hold to my teaching,<sup class="crossreference" value="(A)”> you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31,32)
Praise the Lord!