And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. (Acts 18:9-11 ESV)
Our next exposition in the Book of Acts takes us to the founding of the church at Corinth. Corinth was a busy port city in the province of Achaia, which was south of Macedonia. It was an urban hub and as close to a multicultural city as it gets in the first century. Corinth was also a place of idolatry and sensuality. And yet, after leaving Athens, Corinth is where Paul landed.
As was his custom, Paul wasted no time preaching in the synagogue. Once again, an angry mob of Jews tried to force him out, this time bringing him to the tribunal. Paul’s own testimony in his letters to the Corinthians admits that he was weak and likely discouraged at the time, but Christ gave him strength. In a vision, the Lord promises that he will protect Paul and that he has “many in this city who are my people.” Therefore, Paul should not be silent but keep going!
Indeed, God does protect Paul; when Paul is brought before the tribunal, the proconsul Gallio will hear none of the Jews’ accusations and dismisses the case. Also, God keeps his promise about having people in the city, as Paul is able to partner with Aquila, Priscilla, Titius Justus, and Crispus, in order to carry out the mission God gave him. As one old song says, “God doesn’t always call the equipped, but he will equip the called!”
Paul has faced much affliction so far in the journey, but he draws his strength from Christ. Likewise, we who engage in the Great Commission of evangelizing and church planting must realize that we, too, will face opposition and hardship, but if Christ wants to plant a church, he will see to it that it happens! We can trust him and go reach our community with confidence!