DO NOT BE AFRAID
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.’ So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God. (Acts 18:9-11 NIV)
Paul is in the middle of what is known as “Paul’s 2nd missionary journey”. He had been to many cities in the Mediterranean. Before arriving in Corinth, Paul had been in Thessalonica, Berea and Athens. He now comes to Corinth where he meets fellow tentmakers, Aquila and his wife Priscilla. He stays and works with them. He also visits the local synagogue where he testifies that Jesus is the Messiah they have been waiting for. However, they oppose him. He takes his message to a house next door to the synagogue, where a non-Jew named Titius Justus lives. There he preaches that Jesus is the Messiah and many, Jews and non-Jews, become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
However, there is a chance that the Jews of the synagogue might oppose Paul’s ministry, as they had done in Thessalonica and Berea. On top of this, Paul has also experienced whipping and stoning for his sharing of Jesus as the Messiah. Therefore, as he lies on the bed in Aquila’s house, he might be wondering if he is on the right track.
This is when God appears to Paul that night. ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.’ (Acts 18:9-10 NIV) The Lord tells Paul not to be afraid but to keep on speaking for him in Corinth. The Lord tells Paul that he is with him and no one is going to attack and harm him. The Lord tells him that he has many people in Corinth who will come alongside him. “Do not be afraid. I am with you, there are many in Corinth who are with you.” This is God’s message to Paul.
Paul decides to stay in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching the word of God. The Jews of the synagogue also oppose him. Paul also writes his first letter, 1 Thessalonians, from Corinth during this time. God was with him as he faithfully served God at Corinth.
We come to the end of a long week. It is the 3rd week of Lent. Lent is a time when we remember Jesus on his 40-day journey of fasting in the desert. We draw inspiration from Jesus and focus on our spiritual life. As we practise Lent, the worldwide challenge of the Coronavirus comes upon us. We find that we are not only trying to focus on the spiritual life , we are also needing to take precautions to protect ourselves from being infected by the virus. I have been reading Acts beyond the Acts 1-6 that most of us are reading through Lent. When I reached Acts 18, I found these words which the Lord spoke to Paul. “Do not be afraid. I am with you, there are many in Corinth who are with you.”
I pray that the Lord will make these words meaningful to you as you journey further into this Lent season. “Do not be afraid. I am with you, there are many in Corinth who are with you.”