“When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 6 But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 Then Paul left the synagogue and went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.8 Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized.” Acts 18.5-8
Paul’s natural audience were the Jews. They were God’s chosen people, and knew the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They understood the prophecies about the Messiah and the significance of Jesus’ lineage. And they lived all over the Ancient Near East. During the time of Paul, when the Roman Empire controlled the land, the Jews lived throughout the land.
So Paul returns to the synagogue “devoting himself exclusively to preaching,” holding off on his tent-making profession, and continuing to “testify to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah.” Please note, as I have done many times before, that this was his message — Jesus is the Messiah who suffered, died and rose again, and that God wants to redeem humanity. (If we ever get away from that being our main message then we have become off topic.)
Paul was preaching the gospel as we understand it but the Jews became “opposed” to Paul and “became abusive.” As a result, Paul left the synagogue and instead “went next door to the house of Titius Justus, a worshiper of God.” After hearing the word of God, Crispus, the synagogue leader “and his entire household believe in the Lord.” The text tells us “many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believe and were baptized.”
Paul faced opposition around every bend. Each chapter in Acts reads like a movie drama with the main character who is facing hardship, overcoming obstacles and sometimes gaining success and sometimes failure. But Paul kept moving forward. Now with Silas and Timothy, Paul continued to preach the gospel. He was seeing amazing results from the Gentiles who did not have the benefit of being “God’s chosen people” but who believed none-the-less.
Paul carried on his work of preaching the Good News. Period. Rain or shine, hardship or ease, Paul remained faithful. And as a result, God caused the hearts of people to believe.
Our calling is not any different. We are to spread the good news of Christ’s resurrection and help people find their true purpose in life — to know God and to make him known. We are to believe and to preach. To live into God’s goodness as we encourage others to find peace and salvation in Christ.
Who will you share the good news of Christ with today? Who will you influence positively for the Kingdom? How will you make Jesus known?
“O Lord God, it’s a week into Lent, the 40 day walk to the cross. Your journey was difficult, but in the end, you overcame death and defeated the grave. You gave us knew life by believing in your name and filled us with the power of the Holy Spirit. And now, we live and move and have our being because of you. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your love and power. Help me be the person you have called me to be. To be faithful in proclaiming your message and helping people find life in you. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen