Acts 18 - August 18

Today we see Paul’s missionary trip to Corinth. It is here where Paul meets the famous Priscilla and Aquila people mentioned a few times in the New Testament. They had come from Italy (shout out to the Loverde’s). What we have in this passage are normal things that we have seen in other passages. We see Paul pleading with the Jewish community, making his case from the scripture that Jesus is the Christ and that he came, died, and rose again and all those who repent and believe in Him will be saved. Paul was faithful in going to each synagogue from each city that he visited to plead with the Jews to believe in the gospel. There is one distinction that we have here that we do not see in other prior chapters of Acts. Verse 6 “And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’” The distinction is that we see Paul become discouraged with trying to reason with the Jewish people that he says, “From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” It was just in chapter 16 that Paul and Silas were singing hymns to the Lord in prison. So, what changed? Maybe the discouragement he felt was being built up, maybe in this instance he just lost his cool, or maybe he just had enough of trying to deal with the Jewish community, whichever it was the text is not clear we see that Paul had become discouraged. It is to the church in Corinth that he writes 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” As much as Paul did in his life for the gospel there were many moments where he was discouraged, tired, in need, and despairing of life. With Paul’s discouragements comes much grace from God. Verse 9-10 “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.” What a sweet thing it is, for the Lord to say, “for I am with you.” No matter the turmoil that Paul would have felt in his heart, hearing those very words from the Lord must have overwhelmed his heart with peace. If the song “It is Well With My Soul” would have been known in Paul’s time I’m sure he would have said these lyrics


When peace like a river attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul


Friends, Paul was one of the greatest christians who ever lived, but even Paul was discouraged at times. Even through discouragement, Paul knew and trusted the God that he served. The God that he served, never failed him, and gave him grace upon grace upon grace. Friend, if you are discouraged today, know that the God we believe in, says “for I am with you.” We serve a God who is faithful to us and provides all that we need. Even though in a moment Paul says I do not want to do this anymore, God says yes, I will give you the grace. Keep doing my work, keep preaching my word, keep sharing the gospel, keep building the disciples. Whatever you need, leave that up to me. Let us trust in this God through Christ Jesus.