Around A.D. 52, Paul had been in Athens, after he fled from persecution by zealous Jews in Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. The Greek city, populated of artists and intellectuals had not produced a harvest as considerable as other locations along Paul’s second missionary journey.
“1 After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth.” (Acts 18:1)
Corinth was a thriving commerce driven city about 45 nautical miles from Athens. Paul sailed to Corinth where he would reunite with Silas and Timothy, and continue to further God’s kingdom by preaching the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.
“2 And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. 3 So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers.” (Acts 18:2-3)
Aquila was a Jew born in Pontus, a province southeast of the Euxine Sea who has recently moved to Corinth from Rome after he was exiled by Claudius, the Roman emperor. Paul joined forces with Aquila and his wife Priscilla, as both were also tentmakers by trade.
“4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. 5 When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 18:4-5)
Paul earned his daily bread through tent making 6 days a week, and preached on the Sabbath until Silas and Timothy joined him in Corinth, when he was encouraged by the Holy Spirit to start full time ministry.
“6 But when they opposed him and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:6)
Just as he encountered throughout his second missionary journey, Paul faced persecution in Corinth by Jews, who took offense to, and denied the fact Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah and Savior. Because of this, Paul rebuked his opposers then declared his ministry would now be targeted toward Gentiles, rather than Jews.
“7 And he departed from there and entered the house of a certain man named Justus, one who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.” (Acts 18:7-8)
Paul left the Jewish synagogue to dwell with Justus, also known as Titus, whose home was right next to the synagogue. There, Paul continued his ministry and preached the gospel to those who would listen, one of which was Crispus, a notable leader in Corinth. The Corinthian harvest was plentiful as many received the word, believed in the truth about the resurrected Christ, then they proclaimed their faith in Jesus, the Christ through baptism.
“9 Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.” 11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.” (Acts 18:0-11)
The Lord manifested His presence to Paul in a vision, meant to encourage the missionary to keep on the narrow path in spite of persecution, as Jesus assured Paul He would look after him and pour out His blessings upon him in appreciation of his works and sacrifice.
“12 When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, 13 saying, “This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” 14 And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. 15 But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.” 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things.” (Acts 18:12-17)
Once again, Paul found himself persecuted by Jews who this time, were enraged by the success of his ministry in Corinth. To stop him, and hopefully silence those with Paul, the Corinthian Jews brought him before the court that was headed by Gallio, the brother of Seneca, the philosopher and tutor of Nero.
Paul’s accusers claimed he was preaching a religion not recognized by the Roman empire. Adversely, Gallio considered Christianity a sect within Judaism, and as such, ignored the Jews’ plea to arrest and prosecute Paul. Instead, Gallio has the Jewish persecutors driven out of his court, except for the leader of the Jewish opposers and new ruler of the synagogue, Sosthenes, who was beaten before the court. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre