Acts 18:7-17 (ESV)
And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. 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.
But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal, saying, “This man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” But when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of wrongdoing or vicious crime, O Jews, I would have reason to accept your complaint. But since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves. I refuse to be a judge of these things.” And he drove them from the tribunal. And they all seized Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of this.
There’s an epilogue to this incident in 1 Corinthians 1:1.
Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, (ESV)
Could this possibly be the same Sosthenes?
All the evidence says yes. The “attitude adjustment” he received isn’t my favorite evangelistic method, but in this case it was just the ticket. And note that he didn’t merely convert; he became enough of an asset to get mentioned in Paul’s first letter to Corinth.
There are many unanswered questions here. Who beat Sosthenes? Why were they so upset with him? Why did they beat him in front of the tribunal, and does that have special significance? How did this open him up to the gospel? The list is long and devoid of answers.
But none of that matters. What matters is that God called Sosthenes to Himself. Just as with Paul, his conversion was painful and dramatic. And, just as with Paul, he was called to a major role.
Funny how things work out that way.
What kind of Christian do you want to be? Do you want to be a major player, with lots of trials and lots of impact? Or would you rather live quietly, serving the Lord faithfully in some minor capacity?
It’s not your choice. If “Lord” means Lord, then it’s His call. You can ask for a particular assignment, but you have to go with His decision, regardless of what it is. If you don’t, then He’s not really your Lord.
Most of us are afraid that if we really open the door, God might send us to Siberia or something.
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