Acts 18:1-6 (NIV)
After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. 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.”
That fact that Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome, is detailed here (section 25, verse 4):
Suetonius notes that Claudius did this because, “the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [Christ].” That means the rabble rousing that Paul encountered wasn’t just happening around Paul; it was all over the Roman Empire. Claudius got fed up with this disruption and kicked them all out.
This turns out to be providential. It drives Priscilla and Aquila to Athens, where they meet Paul. They go into the tent making business together and this begins a lifelong partnership. When Silas and Timothy come from Macedonia, Paul gives up tent making, but his relationship with Priscilla and Aquila grows.
Paul even mentions them in the greetings at the end of Romans, 1 Corinthians and 2 Timothy.
This is a classic example of how all things work together for good. Imagine the frustration Priscilla and Aquila must have felt as they were forced to leave Rome. The rabble rousers had accomplished their goal. Priscilla and Aquila were being punished for something they didn’t do.
But God had other ideas; the inconvenience of having to move on short notice was just part of the plan.
Meeting Paul must have felt totally random. In reality, it was anything but.
It’s easy to memorize proper doctrine, but hard to be at peace when things are falling apart. This is an area where we often fall short.
Ask God to grow us in this way. Pray that He will challenge us and teach us. Spiritual maturity comes from the Lord.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, – Rudyard Kipling
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