Today we read of the rejection of one Israelite king and the anointing of a new king (read 1 Samuel 15-16). As we begin reading about a long list of kings, we shall see they had strengths and weaknesses just as we do. We will see God's Law and Gospel in action.
- Hardened sinners rejected.
- Fallen sinners restored.
- Flawed saints used by God to bless others.
God's grace to them comforts us. God will use us, flawed saints, to serve the King who won the victory for us.
In Acts 18 history again comes to the foreground. Luke, the author, mentions the proconsul Gallio. From secular history (read an article about him here) we know that he served as proconsul in Corinth from 51/52 AD and was the brother of the Stoic philosopher Seneca. Luke isn't telling us a story about Paul's missionary journey. He too is recording history--the history of the witnesses to Jesus' resurrection. Even as they stood in court, uncertain of the outcome, they would not and could not deny this truth: The Tomb is Empty!
I visited Corinth in 2006.
A canal that was dug in the 1880's through the Corinthian Isthmus. In Paul's day, cargo was unloaded on one side of the isthmus and carried across so that ships did not need to travel the dangers seas south of Greece. For that reason Corinth was a major port city.
Below is one of the main streets of ancient Corinth. It was a city made rich by trade.
Archeologists determined that this is the bemah or place of judgment on Corinth's main street. This is where Gallio presided over the court.
After taking the picture of the bemah above, I turned around and took this picture of a temple that would have been 400 years old when Paul walked this street. Corinth was a society very much like our own - its time of great religious fervor was in the past. It had become a secular society with people focused on living for today's pleasures. Yet Paul stayed 18 months in Corinth, because the Holy Spirit opened doors into many people's hearts. Pray that this miracle might happen through us in our own society.