One of the things that strikes me as I read through the book of Acts is how persistent the apostles were in the face of persecution. As they travel from city to city, opponents follow them in hopes of provoking locals to turn on the apostles and drive them from their city. More times than not, the apostles’ opponents are successful. This was the case once again in the city of Berea. Paul and Silas reason with the Jews in the synagogue and are no doubt excited to see that many in the synagogue are initially open to considering their message. But, as was the case many times before, Jewish opponents make their way to Berea to agitate and stir up the crowds.
This makes me wonder about our own approach to suffering and our understanding of God’s will. When considering whether God is leading us to do something, we often say we are looking for an open door. When we use this phrase, most of us act as if God providing an open door means things will go smoothly for us if it is indeed God’s will. However, this was apparently not how the apostles understood God’s will. Even in the face of repeated persecutions, imprisonments, and hardships, they pressed on in their attempts to make Jesus Christ known even to the ends of the earth. As you seek to follow God’s leadership, remember that God may lead you down paths marked by difficulty and hardship, as you seek to accomplish the mission He has entrusted to you.
Acts 17:10-15 (ESV):
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. 13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds.14 Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.