Paul is still going first to the synagogs. He is arguing with Jews. The the synagogs of the diaspora also contained god-fearers, gentiles who believed in the Jewish God. At Thessalonica Paul debates with the Jews for three weeks. Always from scripture. Some of the Jews were persuaded, but a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. You can hear the sneering now. How easy is it to convice women and Greeks? They don’t know better. They aren’t trained. And its just the “leading women”, well known for being flighty and attracted to novelty. Luke says the Jews were jealous and gathered up a rabble. Jealous of what? Paul’s freedom and spirit? The freedom of the outsider, the woman, the greek to accept the gospel without serious societal cost? These men who have turned the world upside-down have also come here.
It happens to us occasionally. We get presented with a discontinuity. Rochester has two examples in Xerox and Kodak. The transition to digital was seen well in advance by both. Xerox PARC had the entire PC. Kodak had both printers and cameras. The choice was clear. The executives had heard the 3 weeks of testimony. Some believed. A whole bunch of staffers and guys like Gates and Jobs and those flaky west coast types believed in the digital future. The established leaders all yelled, this is turning the world upside down. Discontinuities produce two emotions – excitement over the new direction and jealousy or anger over a forced change.
We are all presented with one discontinuity. Did Jesus die and rise for me? A yes fundamentally changes the way you live. A no produces jealousy and anger over the loss of a beautiful and longed for story. No one is left unchanged by the offer of the Gospel.
May the Lord lead you to that exciting and life giving yes at the discontinuity of the Gospel.