Thursday, May 31, 2012

Acts 18:12-17

Summary retelling of Acts 18:12-17

Even though Paul has the assurance and correction from Jesus Christ, he is eventually attacked by the Jews (again).  The Jews charge Paul with convincing people to believe in God in such a way as to violate the law.  However, Gallio (the proconsul) was wise enough to see that the Jews wanted Him to believe the problem was with Roman Law when really their problem was with Jewish Law.  Gallio refuses to even try Paul, telling them to handle it between themselves.  Gallio drives them out of the courtroom.  They seized Sosthenes – the leader of the synagogue – and beat him.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Jesus’ words do come true.  Yes the Jews attack him, but they are not allowed to harm Paul.  That is what Jesus said would happen.  Furthermore, God is able to use Gallio – the Roman governor of the land – to protect Paul.  Paul probably had no idea that he could count on Roman leadership for protection, but in Corinth and under God he can rely upon the Roman government!  Everything that Jesus Christ promised was fulfilled.

How cool is it that God’s promises come true?  How important is it to realize that all of God’s words do come true – especially in ways that we cannot foresee?

Second Thought:
Notice that the Jewish leaders are guilty of misperception.  They try to deceive Gallio.  Paul wasn’t breaking any Roman law, but they tried to paint it as though Paul was guilty.  They knew that they were powerless to stop Paul from talking, but if they could sway the Roman governor then they could do something.  It is shameful to see the lengths of deception that the people of the world will go to in order to “win.”

Have you seen this principle in your life?  Have you seen people try to manipulate reality so as to bring about their own glory?  Have you ever used this method yourself?  When?  What was the result?

Third Thought:
Let’s talk a little about Sosthenes.  Read 1 Corinthians 1:1.  In that letter Paul is writing back to Corinth and he has someone named Sosthenes with him.  Now, no doubt there were many people named Sosthenes in the world.  However, how many of the Sosthenes’ in the world would be known to the small group of Christians in Corinth?  We cannot know for sure, but it is very probable that the Sosthenes spoken of in 1 Corinthians 1:1 is the same Jewish synagogue leader who is said to have been beaten in our passage today from Acts.  If this is true (and remember, we cannot know for certain) then this is actually a second leader of the synagogue in Corinth that comes to believe in Jesus Christ!  Look at what happens when we take God’s correction to heart and humble ourselves to following His way!

How well do you receive correction?  How easy is it to admit we’re wrong and do things God’s way?  Have you ever done that and then seen all the blessings that come from repentance and forgiveness and true discipleship?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 18:18-23
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