Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Acts and Mission 73

ApolloTempCorinth.jpgEven if the results of Paul’s preaching on the Areopagus were negligible (Acts 17:32-34, but who is to pronounce on results?), Paul moves on to Corinth. Here are the words of Acts 18:

18:1 After this Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. 18:2 There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to depart from Rome. Paul approached them, 18:3 and because he worked at the same trade, he stayed with them and worked with them (for they were tentmakers by trade). 18:4 He addressed both Jews and Greeks in the synagogue every Sabbath, attempting to persuade them.


18:5 Now when Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul became wholly absorbed with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 18:6 When they opposed him and reviled him, he protested by shaking out his clothes and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am guiltless! From now on I will go to the Gentiles!” 18:7Then Paul left the synagogue and went to the house of a person named Titius Justus, a Gentile who worshiped God, whose house was next door to the synagogue. 18:8 Crispus, the president of the synagogue, believed in the Lord together with his entire household, and many of the Corinthians who heard about it believed and were baptized. 18:9 The Lord said to Paul by a vision in the night, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent, 18:10 because I am with you, and no one will assault you to harm you, because I have many people in this city.” 18:11So he stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.


When it comes to missional themes, I observe these:

1. Paul worked manually to support himself. I have grave doubts that Paul’s example here is paradigmatic for all times and for all missional workers and all pastors etc.. If you are interested in studying about tentmaking and Paul, the book by Ronald F. Hock is the standard and it is brief and to the point and excellent: Social Context of Paul’s Ministry
2. Missional work frequently enough results from external issues: Aquila (and Prisca/Priscilla) are kicked out of Rome and they land in Paul’s lap in Corinth. The timing and the providential connection are not unusual for spontaneous missional work. So, pay attention to circumstances and coincidences.
3. Paul used regular synagogue times (on the Sabbath) to do evangelistic persuasive preaching. 
4. Paul’s message — his gospel message — to the Jews was that Jesus is the Christ. They didn’t all respond positively and he was rejected and he told them they were responsible for their decisions.
5. Paul, again responding to circumstances, left the synagogue and went to the home of Titius Justus and carried on an 18month ministry. Titius Justus was a Gentile godfearer. The president of the synagogue next door, Crispus, believed along with his whole household and were baptized — and so were many other Corinthians.
6. Missional work means attentiveness and receptiveness to what the Lord is saying — so Paul stayed because God spoke to him and promised his presence.
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derek leman

posted January 12, 2010 at 9:24 am

May we again see a day when synagogue presidents are willing to seriously consider Jesus. I am encouraged that the friendlier attitude toward Judaism represented by the New Perspective on Paul, the newer portraits of Jesus in research, and the more open-minded approach of many Christians to Judaism is a trend that brings us closer to the day when our Messiah is called upon in many Jewish homes.
Derek Leman

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