Story Eleven

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
FROM Phĭ-lĭṕ pī, Pa̤ul and Sī́ las went to Thĕs-sa-lō̇ nī́ cȧ, which was the largest city in Măc-e-dṓ nĭ-ȧ. There they found many Jews, and a synagogue where the Jews̝ worshipped. For three weeks Pa̤ul spoke at the meetings in the synagogue, and showed the meaning of the Old Testament writings that the Savior for whom all the Jews̝ were looking must suffer, and die, and rise again from the dead. And Pa̤ul said to them:
"This Jesus, whom I preach to you, is the Christ, the Son of God and the King of Īś̝ ra-el.”
Some of the Jews̝ believed Pa̤ul's teachings, and a far greater number of the Greeks, the people of the city who were not Jews̝, became followers of Christ. And with them were some of the leading women of the city, so that a large church of believers in Christ arose in Thĕs-sa-lō̇-nī́ cȧ.
But the Jews̝ who would not believe in Jesus were very angry as they saw so many seeking the Lord. They stirred up a crowd of the lowest people in the city, and raised a riot, and led a noisy throng to the house of a man named Jā́ son, with whom they supposed that Pa̤ul and Sī́ las were staying. The crowd broke into the house, and sought for Pa̤ul and Sī́ las, but could not find them. Then they seized Jā́ son, the master of the house, and some other friends of the apostles, and dragged them before the rulers of the city, and cried out:
"These men who have turned the whole world upside down, have come to this city, and Jā́ son has taken them into his house. They are acting contrary to the laws of Cǽ s̝ar the emperor, for they say that there is another king, a man whose name is Jesus.”
The rulers of the city were greatly troubled when they saw these riotous people, and heard their words. They knew that Jā́ son and his friends had done nothing against the law of the land; but to content the crowd they made the believers promise to obey the laws, and then they let them go free. The brethren of the church sent away Pa̤ul and Sī́ las, in the night-time, to the city of Bē̇-rḗ ȧ, which was not far from Thĕś sa-lō̇-nī́ cȧ. There again they found a synagogue of the Jews̝, and, as in other places, Pa̤ul went into its meetings and preached Jesus, not only to the Jews̝, but also to the Ġĕń tīles̝, many of whom worshipped with the Jews̝.
These people were of a nobler spirit than the Jews̝ of Thĕś sa-lō̇-nī́ cȧ, for they did not refuse to hear Pa̤ul's teachings. They listened with open minds, and every day they studied the Old Testament writings, to see whether the words spoken by Pa̤ul were true. And many of them became believers in Jesus, not only the Jews̝, but the Ġĕń tīles̝ also; for those who study the Bible will always find Christ in its pages. But the news went to Thĕś sa-lō̇-nī́ cȧ that the word of Christ was being taught in Bē̇-rḗ ȧ. The Jews of Thĕś sa-lō̇-nī́ cȧ sent some men to Bē̇-rḗ ȧ, who stirred up the people against Pa̤ul and Sī́ las. To avoid such a riot as had arisen in. Thĕś sa-lō̇-nī́ cȧ, the brethren in Bē̇-rḗ ȧ took Pa̤ul away from the city, but Sī́ las and Tĭḿ o-thy̆ stayed for a time.
The men who went with Pa̤ul led him down to the sea, and went with him to Athens. There they left Pa̤ul alone, but took back with them Pa̤ul's message to Sī́ las and Tĭḿ o-thy̆ to hasten to him as quickly as they could come. While Pa̤ul was waiting for his friends in Ăth́ ens̝, his spirit was stirred in him, as he saw the city full of idols. It was said that in the city of Ăth́ ens̝ the images of the gods were more in number than the people. Pa̤ul talked with the Jews̝ in the synagogue, and in the public square of the city with the people whom he met. For all the people of Ăth́ ens̝, and those who were visiting in that city, spent most of their time in telling or in hearing whatever was new. And there were in Ăth́ ens̝ many men who were thought very wise, and who were teachers of what they called wisdom. Some of these men met Pa̤ul, and as they heard him, they said scornfully, "What does this babbler say?”
And because he preached to them of Jesus, and of his rising from the dead, some said, "This man seems to be talking about some strange gods!”
There was in Ăth́ ens a hill, called Märs̝' Hill, where a court was held upon seats of stone ranged around. They brought Pa̤ul to this place, and asked him, saying, "May we know what is this new teaching that you are giving? You bring to our ears some strange things, and we wish to know what these things mean.”
Then Pa̤ul stood in the middle of Märs̝’ Hill, with the people of the city around him, and he said:
"Ye men of Ăth́ ĕns̝, I see that you are exceedingly given to worship. For as I passed by I saw an altar, upon which was written these words, 'To THE UNKNOWN GOD.' That God whom you know not, and whom you seek to worship, is the God that I make known to you. The God who made the world and all things that are in it, is Lord of heaven and earth, and does not dwell in temples made by the hands of men; nor is he served by men's hands, as though he needed anything. For God gives to all men life, and breath, and all things. And he has made of one blood all the peoples who live on the earth: that all men should seek God, and should feel after him, and should find him; for he is not far away from any of us. For in him we live, and move, and have our being: even as some of your own poets have said, Tor we also are the children of God.' Since we are God's children, we should not think that God is like gold, or silver, or stone, wrought by the hands of men. Now God calls upon men to turn from their sins; and he tells us that he has fixed a day when he will judge the world through that man Jesus Christ whom he has chosen, and whom he has raised from the dead.”
When they heard Pa̤ul speak of the dead being raised, some laughed in scorn; but others said, "We will hear you again about this." After a time Pa̤ul went away from Ăth́ ens̝. Very few people joined with Pa̤ul, and believed on Jesus. Among these few was a man named Dī-ŏ-ny̆ś ĭ-us, one of the court that met on Mars' Hill, and a woman named Dăḿ a-rĭs. A few others joined with them; but in Ăth́ ens̝ the followers of Christ were not many.