“And there is another reason why we always give thanks to God. When we brought you God’s message, you heard it and accepted it, not as a message from human beings but as God’s message, which indeed it is.” 1 Thessalonians 2:13, GNT
The letter of Paul to the Thessalonians is probably his first letter to a congregation and, therefore, also the oldest book in the New Testament. He wrote the letter towards the end of 50 AD, most probably while he was in Corinth. In Acts 17, we read how Paul was sent out a second time to bring the gospel to the Greeks and other nations, and finally of his arrival in Thessalonica. As was his custom, he first went to the synagogue to preach. This he did on three consecutive Sabbaths.
The majority of Jews did not like his message about Jesus, so Paul started to proclaim the gospel to the other people of this great city of commerce. A few Jews, quite a number of Greeks and many of the leading women accepted the message and started believing in Jesus, and so a congregation came into being.
The Jews who were jealous and did not believe the gospel created a great uproar and laid a complaint with the city authorities. During the night, the brothers sent Paul and his fellow travellers to Berea in secret. Paul went on to visit other cities and countries, but when he reached Athens, he sent Timothy to the young congregation in Thessalonica as he was worried about them. When Timothy returned with the good news that all was well with the young church, Paul wrote a letter to them.
In this letter, he gave thanks to God that this young church had heard and accepted God’s message “not as a message from human beings but as God’s message, which indeed it is.” It was purely the work of the Holy Spirit.
That this group of people who knew practically nothing about Jesus should start believing by just listening to Paul preaching about Jesus, was nothing but a miracle. Although most of us probably grew up in a Christian home, it is also a miracle that we came to accept Jesus by hearing his Word.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, we thank you that you bring people to faith through the Word of God. Amen