Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king–Jesus.” (Acts 17:1-7)
Turning The World Upside Down
Preaching Jesus is a radical message. No man in history has changed the course of man than the life of the carpenter’s son from Nazareth. Paul spent three weeks reasoning in the Synagogue about the Jesus of Old Testament scripture. He used the word of God to prove Jesus was the Messiah of scripture that spoke about His suffering, His death and the power of His resurrection. The foundation of the gospel is the teaching Jesus is the Anointed of God who came from the Father and died for the sins of all men. No man could take the mantle of righteousness as Jesus bore upon Himself as the Savior of the world. The crucifixion of the man from Nazareth was not an ordinary event but world changing. His burial was carefully documented so the proof of the empty tomb would echo through the centuries as declaring the resurrection. Many followed after Paul and Silas because they believed the testimony of the risen Jesus.
Jews in Thessalonica were not happy with the teachings of Paul and Silas. They caused an uproar pressing on the house of Jason dragging them before the rulers of the city. The only charge they could establish was the companions of Jason were turning the world upside down by their teachings that Jesus was the Christ. Ironically, many of the Greeks believed while many of the Jews refused to accept the teaching of Paul. The Jews were the ones who knew the Law and the Prophets but they would not accept the teachings of Paul. The old Law proved that Jesus was the Christ and He was King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In a strange twist of hypocrisy, the agitated Jews appealed to the Roman rulers and allegiance to Caesar as their argument to rebuke Jason and his friends. Paul and Silas declared Jesus was king but this did not sit well with the Jews as they used the hated Roman power as their power to destroy the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ is showing the testimony of scripture to the character and work of the Lord. Souls were saved in the New Testament by preaching a radical doctrine of allegiance to one King and one Lord. Without the story of the suffering servant and the power of the resurrection, salvation cannot come. Jesus is the center of teaching bringing people to the Father. The core of the message must be the story of Jesus from the Old Testament to the New Testament. It is remarkable how the early disciples used only the Old Testament to prove that Jesus was the Son of God and Savior of the world. Nothing can replace the pattern of teaching than showing the simple plan of the resurrection of Jesus.
The world cannot be turned upside down by the social, crowd pleasing, tickling ear philosophy of modern day religion. Jesus can only be King when He is declared Lord from the scriptures. The center of teaching by Paul and Silas was the word of God. They reasoned with the people from the Scriptures. Core to the teaching of Jesus is the word of God and without the teaching of the word, there can be no salvation. Churches who no longer emphasize the word of God are not turning the world upside down but inside out. They are teaching a doctrine that is not centered on the words of God. Jesus is not being exalted when we fail to teach the suffering of Christ and His resurrection.
There is great power in opening the word of God and showing from scripture the nature of Jesus Christ as Lord. The power is in the word and we should allow its power to work on the heart of man to convince, rebuke and exhort to salvation. Turning the world upside down comes from opening the word of God. Preaching and teaching that does not involve an open Bible is an open invitation to apostasy. Let the world see the power of the gospel and feel the presence of the resurrected Savior by the word of God.