In Isolation Thoughts 2

Hymn: Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Bible Reading: Acts 18.1-17

Not all Smooth Sailing

Life is not always easy for any of us, problems arise, things go wrong, it rains when we need sun, the car will not start, and the electricity has been cut off due to a cable being cut! Generally, we get these individually but sometimes they seem to build up and we find ourselves swamped, tearing our hair out and screaming at the cat. [If you have one!] Paul takes all his setbacks in his stride; he sees them as opportunities and not disasters. Someone I worked with used to say, ‘don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions!’ Paul certainly did that, he was ready to move or stay, to run or hide, but always depending on the Lord for guidance.

In this passage what do we see?

  • Jews banished from Rome
  • Opposition in the synagogue
  • Exasperation at their refusal to accept Jesus was the Messiah
  • If the Jews won’t listen, he will go to the Gentiles
  • Criminal accusations
  • An indifferent Roman Proconsul
  • Public humiliation of the Synagogue leader, Sosthenes

What would you do in these circumstances? Pack up and go elsewhere where you might be more appreciated? Give up what you were doing and live a quiet life, bothering no-one? What did Paul do? He stayed there for eighteen months, preaching the gospel and teaching about Jesus. he was not put off by opposition, it would seem he thrived on it.

What were the positives at the time?

  • He met Aquila and Pricilla, they were fellow tentmakers, so he stayed with them and made tents. This provided him with income to support the work of the Gospel. In other Epistles we see they were Christians and part of the establishing of the Church in Corinth. He found practical and spiritual support.
  • There was a Synagogue in Corinth where he could preach the Gospel. Remember he was a highly respected Jewish teacher and would be accepted in the Synagogue and invited to speak at the Sabbath day meeting. So he had an open invitation to show from the OT that Christ was the Messiah promised by the prophets. He was openly teaching both Jews and Gentiles the truth of Christ.
  • He was joined by his colleagues in the Gospel, Silas and Timothy, who were a great encouragement and help, three men rather than one. This meant Paul could devote more time to teach that Christ was the Messiah, it would seem he spent most of his time with the Jewish contingent in Corinth.
  • The opposition and abuse that was focussed on him finally meant he felt he could no longer endure this, so left the confines of the Jewish base and opened his ministry to a wider audience, the Gentiles.
  • He immediately found a support, next door to the Synagogue, at the house of Titius Justus, a believer. This was his new base for preaching and teaching. It was a great joy when he was joined by Crispus, the Synagogue Leader, who had come to believe what Paul taught about Jesus. He had to give up his position in the Synagogue to join the church in Corinth. Out of rejection and abuse immediately comes growth and support for the growing church as many who heard Paul became Christians and joined the fellowship of Believers.
  • He had a vision from the Lord. The Lord knew when his servant needed a boost, he was told:
    • Do not be afraid
    • Keep on speaking
    • Do not be silent
    • I am with you
    • No-one will attack or harm you
    • The Lord had many who will come to follow Christ in the city

So it is no wonder that Paul stayed for eighteen months with that level of support from God, not just his fellow workers in the city.

When the Gospel is being preached and people are converted, there will be adversaries. At the time of Gallio, the Roman Proconsul, some Jews attempted to accuse Paul. They came to Gallio, accusing Paul of persuading people to worship God in a way that was contrary to the law. It was Jewish law that was the basis for this accusation. Gallio wasn’t interested one bit, if its your law sort it out yourselves. He didn’t even wait for Paul to make a defence; in English law it was a verdict of ‘no case to answer!’ he threw them out of his court, he was not wasting his time on these petty squabbles between Jews. Unfortunately, it was the new Synagogue leader who bore the brunt of their anger, perhaps they blamed him for Paul’s preaching. They beat him up in front of Gallio, who took no notice or showed any concern.

So whatever situation you find yourself in, look for the solution not the problem, seek out an opportunity and don’t withdraw, listen to the words of the Lord and be encouraged. Don’t give up, go on!


Page last updated: 22nd April 2021 1:20 AM
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