5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. 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.”
7 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. 8 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. 9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 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.” 11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
Back in the day, one of the things to do was to go and listen to speakers. I’m not talking about a TED talk, but maybe more like the Tonight Show monologue. Some of them were obvious entertainment, reciting poems or telling stories. Others, to fit the current culture and mood, were invoking the gods and involved various local religious beliefs.
In that way, Paul fit right in whenever he spoke at the synagogue. The thing was, there were other speech-places all over town where people could gather and listen to someone talk about interesting or entertaining things. The synagogue wasn’t the only show in town.
So when Paul was put out of the synagogue, the cultural setting was already prepared for him to have a place to speak and advance the Gospel. Not only was there already a speaking-hall ready to welcome him, but it was right next door to the synagogue that put him out.
This was set up so well, in fact, that this was the first place where the Jews didn’t oppose him going to the gentiles. In all of the previous places, people ran him off because he was preaching salvation for the gentiles or preaching against the local gods (or demons!) until now. Corinth is secular enough that the local Jewish community leaves Paul to go be lost like all of the rest of the Gentiles.
Which is just what he needed.
Corinth was about as dirty and slimy as a city could be. It was like Las Vegas before they made it “family friendly” in the 90s (lol).
But in that super-pagan environment, God would say “I have many in this city who are my people.”
Paul would stay there and
play nightly shows speak to whoever would come to hear him preach about Jesus.
Can you imagine the spot Paul was in now? After all of the beatings and travel, he is able to settle down for 18 months with the promise that there are many of God’s people here and that no one is going to harm him.
Sometimes the things in the culture that look bad to us could be God setting up salvation for many.
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