change from the norm
Acts 18:1-17 (JDV)
Acts 18:1 After these things happened, he left Athens and went to Corinth,
Acts 18:2 and he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul came to them,
Acts 18:3 and since they were of the same occupation, tent-makers by trade, he stayed with them and worked.
Acts 18:4 He made speeches in the synagogue every Sabbath and tried to persuade both Jews and Greeks.
Acts 18:5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself to preaching the word and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah.
Acts 18:6 When they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his clothes and told them, “Your blood is on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Acts 18:7 So he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next door to the synagogue.
Acts 18:8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, along with his whole household. Many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized.
Acts 18:9 The Lord said to Paul in a night vision, “Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent.
Acts 18:10 In view of the fact that I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to abuse you, in view of the fact that I have many people in this city.”
Acts 18:11 He stayed there a year and a half, teaching the word of God among them.
Acts 18:12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made an attack with the same passion against Paul and brought him to the platform.
Acts 18:13 “This man,” they said, ” is persuading people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”
Acts 18:14 As Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or of an evil crime, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you Jews.
Acts 18:15 But if these are questions about words, names, and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of such things.”
Acts 18:16 So he drove them from the platform.
Acts 18:17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the platform, but none of these things mattered to Gallio.
change from the norm
For Paul and his missionary team, Corinth represented a change from the norm. The norm was rapidly forming a church, and then equally as rapid fleeing the persecution backlash by going on to another field. But here in Corinth, the Lord opened the door for Paul to settle into a new Job, which allowed him to stay put for a while. Previous visions from the Lord had prepared Paul for the next place he was to go. But the vision in Corinth encouraged him to keep spreading the word there.
Paul and his team were learning some things about God. They learned that God was not afraid of the persecution they were facing — that God knew how to make that persecution backfire, so that it resulted in more believers.
They also learned that the same God who gave them power to do mighty things short-term is also able to empower them for a successful long-term ministry. If God has many people in the city, he will open the door for those people to be converted and discipled.
Lord, you are the God of the long-term. Empower us for ministry where you want us. Enable us to trust you for that.