We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 1 Thessalonians 2:2.
Something else needs to be said before we move on. To paraphrase Ecclesiastes, without God, everything is meaningless but nothing can contain Him.
I was reading about how Google Home doesn’t recognize the name of Jesus. A story online said that the in-home smart speaker recognizes the names of Buddha, Allah, and even Satan and can relay to you a whole encyclopedia of knowledge about those names, but that it says “I’m sorry I don’t understand” (or something like that) when you ask it about Jesus or Jesus Christ. Newsflash, my friends, God doesn’t need Google Home but He loves the people who make and use it anyway. Ditto Alexa, Echo, Facebook, Bing, and any other gadget or browser we can think of. Indeed, God’s word will spread even MORE when people deny it.
Crazy? Yes, actually it is. The conventional world can’t see how this makes sense, but the world that believes in Jesus can. His word is too good to be contained; it’s too good to be bottled up or confined by the smallness of human activity. People can try, but the good news always comes through. It did in concentration camps. It does in prisons, and inner cities, and communist re-education camps, and even in Hollywood. It even happens in organized churches.
In this verse, Paul describes how people strongly opposed his preaching. In Philippi Paul had been strongly opposed and it stung him. He considered it outrageous that God’s word would be opposed, that anyone would try to interfere with or target or stop the preaching of words ordained by the Lord Himself. Yet despite the opposition, word spread. People all over Greece and Asia Minor wanted to know more about what these missionaries of “The Way” were saying. Tyrannical Romans couldn’t stop the message. Hostile Jews and their synagogues couldn’t stop the message. Skeptical Greeks and hateful pagans couldn’t stop it. By the time Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he was used to being opposed, and he began to recognize that it was to God’s glory that all this happened.
That was true 2000 years ago. It’s still true today. God doesn’t need us to preach His message. He can get it out any way He chooses. Yet He chooses us to do it for Him, to talk about it one on one, to build relationships based on common worship and understanding of Him because without Him everything else means nothing. God chooses to work through us as we love one person at a time. Nothing could contain that way back then; nothing can contain it now.
For further reading: Ecclesiastes, Acts 14:19, Acts 16:22, Philippians 1:30, 1 Thessalonians 2:3
Lord, I pray: work through me today. Love others through me. Teach me to represent You.