Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working, for by trade they were tent-makers. And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clean From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
Then he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God, whose house was next to the synagogue. Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized. And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.” And he settled there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.But while Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him before the judgment seat, saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrong or of vicious crime, O Jews, it would be reasonable for me to put up with you; but if there are questions about words and names and your own law, look after it yourselves; I am unwilling to be a judge of these matters.” And he drove them away from the judgment seat.And they all took hold of Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and began beating him in front of the judgment seat. But Gallio was not concerned about any of these things.And having spent some time there, he left and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.NOTE 2 issues here in chapter 18: FIRST–The idea of a tent-maker. We normally think in terms of a tent-maker being a job that a part-time pastor must do to pay the bills. But I believe it’s more than that. Paul was so caught up in his calling to “love God and to love your neighbor as yourself”, he saw it as his higher calling to present Jesus and his kingdom to the Jews, the Gentiles and to kings. Yes, he supported himself through making tents, but it was not because he was a part-time anything. Today, I believe all jobs could be viewed as “tent-making”, because your work is not your primary purpose on earth. But you have a higher calling from God. Your job may pay your bills, but there is a greater reason for you to be alive today–to fulfill the calling of God on your life. And, if you don’t know what that is, start with loving God with all your heart, strength and mind and loving your neighbor as yourself.” And as you gather and enjoy the fellowship of others who are like-minded, you will find Jesus showing up and leading out in your life with His opportunities and orders.
SECOND–The impact of touching people. When Paul felt totally rejected by the Jews at the synagogue, he began teaching Jesus and the Kingdom at a house next door to the synagogue. He didn’t do this to start another synagogue (church), but to make himself available to touch more interested people. NOTE that Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed. He is mentioned later in the letter to the Corinthians. Also, note that God touched another leader of the synagogue through Paul being brought to court. After the Jews were rejected by the judge, the people beat up Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue. Then note who wrote the first letter to the Corinthian church of Jesus, Paul and Sosthenes!
One more illustration of touching people. Paul first met up with Acquila and Priscilla, a couple in the same trade, and they came together. They even followed along with him as he left Corinth. When they were in Ephesus, they heard Apollo speak well concerning Jesus. However, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. Apollo went on from there using his giftedness even more effectively, because Paul touched Aquila and Priscilla and they, in turn, touched Apollo.This is how the Jesus movement spreads!