April 29, 2020 – Wednesday
Acts 18:12-13 NIV
12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment.
13 “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.”
Once again we have no mention of the word persecution, but as we will see there was indeed persecution of Christians in Corinth. Paul had great confidence though as God had spoken to him earlier in a vision where 9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
And Paul was protected as he taught for a year and a half before the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on him and brought him to the place of judgment. And even there he was protected as 14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to them, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. 15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law—settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” 16 So he drove them off.
So that was the end of that you might think, but it was not. Instead 17 Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever. Why did the crowd go after Sosthenes the synagogue leader anyway? We don’t know for sure, but the first synagogue leader mentioned 8 Crispus … and his entire household believed and it is likely the following synagogue leader Sosthenes did likewise.
Position did not matter, Sosthenes was the synagogue leader and yet he was publicly beaten by a crowd. Other than being a likely follower of Jesus, he and Crispus had permitted Paul to preach in the synagogue for a lengthy period of time before those within the synagogue became abusive. When they did 7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.
A great number of people came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior in Corinth from hearing the word of God about Jesus how He died for their sins and rose from the dead on the third day. That is the wonder and glory that it happened in spite of the opposition by others and in spite of any persecution that occurred. Men and women, Jew and Gentile, all came to know and follow Jesus.
It is all too easy to focus on the difficulties and persecution Paul, Silas, Timothy, Barnabas, and others faced when the real focus should be on what they achieved as they brought the Good News to those who had never heard it before. The persecution was real and is real today, but those who come to know and follow Jesus in spite of the persecution is the real story and it is indeed awesome.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton