The angry mob that forms in verse 5 levels their accusations in verse 6: “These people who have been turning the world upside down have come here also.”… Not only that, but they accuse Jason and some other believers of offering hospitality to Paul and company. From the accusations of the crowd, it seems that Paul and Silas have been proceeded by their reputations. Maybe the people of Thessalonica were amused when they heard about Paul and Silas preaching outrageous things in other cities, but now this disruption has landed at their front door and it’s a different story. It may be ironic that these rioters accuse Paul and Silas of creating chaos, but they do understand that faith in Christ changes the world.
How often does our faith turn the world upside down? When does following Jesus lead us to upset the order of the day so that people accuse us of “turning the world upside down”? We can point to leaders in our history whose movements did so. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela come to mind.
Sometimes, though, we’re content to just let others speak for us instead of using our own voice to express our faith. What would happen if we took back our rightful place in the city square instead of relying on the sound bites or tweets of religious leaders? Would our world change? Would the risen Christ empower us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, set the captives free, and proclaim the hope of the gospel in word and deed? How would our faith grow if we eagerly embodied Christ’s love for the world? Would we not only be accused of turning the world upside down, but demonstrate how Christ’s love, grace, and mercy sets the world right side up?
What does turning the world upside down look like for your community?
God, you changed the world so we might know love in its fullest. Give us courage to share this experience with others. Amen.