These people have turned the world upside down!
Paul and Silas in Thessalonica
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews.
And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”
And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.
But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” (Acts 17:1-7 ESV)
Truth and light is resisted by those who love darkness because their deeds are evil. These people fight the truth. They fight those who are telling the truth. They try to crush them. They attack them. This passage calls them ‘jealous’: they were jealous of Paul and Silas. Why? — because Paul and Silas were getting converts. The jealous Jews knew this was eroding their power base. The people who were being converted to Christ couldn’t be so easily browbeaten and intimidated by the power-hungry Jews. They would be liberated from and would see through the mind control that the Jewish leaders had spread with their countless minute regulations for ‘right living’. They would no longer look up to these Jewish men as the Great Leaders who were more holy than them and whose word was vernerated. Hey, these Jews’ very livelihoods might be at stake. Where would they get their income if the tithes stopped coming in?
And they didn’t fight like gentlemen. They enlisted allies — wicked men of the rabble. They formed a mob. They set the city in uproar. They attacked the house of Jason. They wanted to bring Paul and Silas out to the crowd where they would be pelted with invective and blows. Unable to find Paul and Silas, they manhandled Jason and some of the brothers and dragged them before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”
The apostles had turned the world upside down. Actually, they’d turned it right way up.
When the victim tells her abuser the truth, he tries to crush her. He fights against the truth and he fights dirty. He enlists wicked men to be his allies. He levels accusations against her to the authorities: “I am her head but she is saying that she doesn’t have to submit to me. She’s become a feminist: worldly, rebellious, ungodly. She’s acting against all the decrees of Christianity and if you let this go on it will turn church upside down. Do something about it!”
The allies chime in: “The people at A Cry For Justice are teaching that you can just label anyone you don’t like as an abuser and put them out of the church with no possibility of forgiveness. They are violating the gospel! Shame on them!”
Opponents of our Cry for Justice slanderously misrepresent what we are doing. But what they say does not deter us. We are in the business of turning the church right way up.
dark dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand,
and glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.