Bible Reading Day 196

by markburlinson

Day 196: July 15 (Acts 18)

Good morning!

After Paul adapted his message to a range of hearers in Athens, he moves on to Corinth, to the west. Here he meets and befriends Aquila and Priscilla, who are tent makers like Paul. Although Paul is working at a trade, he also attends the synagogue every week, persuading Jews and Greeks alike that Jesus is alive. Here in the important cities of the Greek world, Paul appeals to both groups.

After Timothy and Silas join him from Macedonia, Paul boldly declares to the Greeks that Jesus is the Messiah. This does not go over well, so Paul turns away from them and goes to the Gentiles. This involved moving next door, because there was a Greek man called Justus there that welcomed Paul. Ironically it was this obedience on Paul’s part that led to the ruler of the synagogue becoming a believer!

At this point God tells Paul to persevere in Corinth and, as a result, he stays there for a year and a half. At the end of this time the Jews try to have Paul punished, saying he makes people worship contrary to God’s law.

In response to this, the Governor, Gallio, throws out the case, saying it is nothing to do with him. And then some Greeks have the synagogue leader beaten up! This is cultural strife affecting every group! After a while, Paul continues his journeys, and Luke (as if to signal that he is about to change focus in his account) only tells us the barest highlights of the next section of Paul’s life. Ultimately Luke’s account is about what God is doing rather than highlighting each apostle biographically. Already we have seen Peter fade from focus in Luke’s writing, now Paul will also be out of the spotlight for a time.

One consequence of Paul’s travels was that he was not able to stay long in Ephesus on his way to Syria and Jerusalem. So Luke changes focus to tell us who God DID send to Ephesus – a man called Apollos, who was a fine speaker in his own right. Now we have moved from the actual witnesses of the resurrection who had been with Jesus (such as Peter), via Paul (who met Jesus face to face onthe road to Damascus, but only after the resurrection) to those who have believed in Jesus after the ascension. In other words, everyone is called to share the good news, and it is not to be left only to a select few. Also God raises up whoever He wishes, and equips them to do His work. Notice how Priscilla and Aquila (who led the church in Ephesus) take Apollos aside and correct his lack of knowledge so that his gifting and anointing can be even more fruitful.

How would you react if the spotlight were on you but then moved to someone else? Equally importantly, how would you react if you were suddenly thrust into the spotlight but someone else pointed out your faults? How can we each be more like Priscilla and Aquila – seeing the potential in others and helping them grow?

Have a great day!

Mark.

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