Acts 17:6-9 – 6 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, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. 9 And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
Here during Paul’s second missionary journey, we see Paul’s experience in Thessalonica. Many believe. Many are jealous. And those who oppose the word of God use government to persecute the church. The argument is simple. They suggest that to accept Christ as King necessarily makes the earthly government secondary.
Why this is worth taking note for us today is also simple. The church must understand both that Christ is King and that this belief of ours will always and in every way be unacceptable to the lost world. Communist rulers and Marxist philosophers hate the notion of any power beyond that of the party, the rulers in government. Though they may claim that their goal is a totally equal society, their actual practice will always be to have a class of powerful rulers in the government, rulers whose power cannot be made subject to another authority, especially not God.
Even today in the United States, we have people appointed and elected to offices who are making it clear that they demand that the church bow to their authority. In a land where freedom of religion and freedom of assembly is enshrined in the constitution, these folks will use any crisis they can to reshape society so that the government is seen as a higher authority than is the church of the Lord Jesus. Like the Thessalonians, many in America are shocked that we would claim that there is a greater King than Caesar.
What then do we do? We keep on serving Jesus. We keep on preaching. We keep on obeying God’s commands. We keep on gathering. We keep on fellowshipping. We keep on battling to save the lives of unborn babies. We keep on declaring that God created humanity in his image, making us male or female, and that this fact matters. We live boldly while we are free. And we live boldly when it brings us persecution. May we keep, as the Thessalonians said, turning the world upside-down and declaring that Jesus is King.