Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Acts 18:5-8

Summary retelling of Acts 18:5-8

Silas and Timothy catch up with Paul in Corinth, finding him – surprise, surprise – preaching to the Jews about Jesus Christ.  Once more we hear about the Jews opposing Paul and reviling him.  Paul has now had enough.  He shakes out his garments and tells them that their blood is now on their own heads.  Paul vows to go to the Gentiles from here on out.  He goes to live with a man named Titius Justus.  It just happened that Titius Justus lived right next to the synagogue.  Crispus, one of the synagogue leaders, believed in Christ.  The same was true for his whole house.  Many Corinthians believed what Paul had to say.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul continues to preach to the Jews.  Remember that yesterday I said this was a point that I wanted to emphasize.  Today we see him continuing in his traditional patterns, and the Jews continue to oppose him.  There isn’t anything in this passage that hasn’t happened practically everywhere else that Paul goes.  Yet, he continues to follow Christ in spite of persecution after persecution.  You have to respect Paul for doing what he does when he knows the persecution is going to come.  It isn’t a matter of if; it is a matter of when.

Can you think of things that you have continued to do in spite of persecution?  What gives you the strength to go on?

Second Thought:
Now that I’ve acknowledged respect for Paul, we also have to acknowledge that as a part of this story he gets fed up with the persecution.  He gets fed up with the fact that people refuse to listen.  He announces that he is done with the Jews.  Paul – the great evangelist of the New Testament himself – gets fed up with his calling and stops following God’s leading for a moment.  Granted, Paul doesn’t turn his back on God – he is still going to go to the Gentiles with the Gospel.  But he has a moment of weakness and stops being open to talking to Jews about Christ.

Is it comforting to know that even Paul himself had his moments of failure?  What do you think Paul forgot, causing him to get frustrated?

Third Thought:
Cripsus – one of the leaders of the synagogue – is said to have believed in Christ.  You know, one does not sway a Jewish leader into Christianity by being ineffective.  Certainly Paul was effective, even in Corinth.  Don’t forget he made disciples in Athens, Berea, Thessalonica, Philippi, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, Psidian Antioch, Paphos, Cyprus, and Antioch!  He has been pretty successful in spite of the persecution.  He’s convinced Timothy of the faith so much so that Timothy has left family to follow Paul.  He’s empowered woman after woman in faith.  He’s converted a jailor and saved him from suicide.  Paul has had many successes in ministry so long as he was willing to do it God’s way.

Do you think Paul should have spent a little more time thinking about his past successes in Christ before becoming frustrated?  Why do human beings allow the frustration of the moment to overtake the evidence of God’s work in the past?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 18:9-11
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