“Guilty by Association”

Acts 17:1-9

Paul and Silas are on the move again along the Mediterranean Sea towards Rome.  They stop at Thessalonica (the people in the epistle Thessalonians).  Predictably they go to the Jewish synagogue to present their spiritual experience. Paul preaches from the Scriptures, showing that the prophesied Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead.  Many people believe including Gentiles and women.  Are we surprised to read that opposition arose?  The opposition goes to the streets, inspiring a riot, and the crowd marches to Jason’s house where Paul and Silas were presumed to be staying.  The crowd focuses on Jason who has welcomed questionable people.  Jason is made to post bond and then he is released.

     Jason is guilty by association, because he offered hospitality to Paul and Silas.  I ponder how many times our associations may be impacted by appearances and what others might think.   People or kids might feel awkward associating with a person with a handicap, a person of a different ethnicity, or a person of a different socio-economic level.  It is so easy to draw a line to differentiate between who’s “in” and who’s “out.”  It cost Jason to house Paul and Silas, not only the entertainment but also the bail he had to pay.

         Stop and ponder for a few minutes this morning.  Can you name the social groups in your church?  Are there people who don’t seem to fit in?  Perhaps you have held a critical attitude towards someone who does not worship spirituality like you do.  Ask God to speak to you about whether you avoid someone for fear of how it will affect your reputation.  Think of one person you could reach out to at church this Sunday.  Spiritual maturity may be the ability to stand with the questionable.  Blessings.

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