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The Gospel to Thessalonica: Acts 17:4-9

January 17, 2021 Speaker: Bob DeWaay Series: Acts of the Apostles

Scripture: Acts 17:4-9

Luke/Acts shows a theme of gospel preaching in synagogues, starting with Jesus announcing that He fulfilled Isaiah 61:1,2a in a synagogue service in Nazareth, His home town. We examine that section to show how Luke’s description of Paul preaching in synagogues, including the one in Thessalonica, is similar to Jesus. Both showed how Jesus fulfilled Scripture and in both cases there was a violent rejection of the message (though some in Thessalonica believed).

We also discuss the theme of “release” from sins which was part of the Jesus citation of Isaiah 61. The ESV translates the Greek aphesis as liberty, which appears twice in Luke 4:18. This Greek word is commonly translated “forgiveness” in the NT. It appears often in Luke/Acts, including in Acts 26:18.

Jesus commissioned His disciples to proclaim “repentance for forgiveness (release) of sins” (Luke 24:47). We show how this happens in Acts. Both Jesus and the apostles preached this. Jesus is the Messiah (anointed One) predicted in Isaiah 61. The irony is that Jesus, being one of their own, the son of Joseph, who announced the fulfillment of the very text He read in His hometown synagogue, was taken to a cliff to be thrown off. He walked through their midst and they could not carry out their plan. Likewise, His apostles were often rejected, with their lives threatened, when they preached the gospel in synagogues. Luke 4 serves as a preview of many events in Acts.