Acts 18:9-11 New International Version
9 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. 10 For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.’ 11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.”
From Philippi where he was jailed, to Thessalonica where he had to flee the city at night, through Berea and Athens, Paul came at last to Corinth where in accordance with his practice he began to preach in the synagogue reasoning with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks that Jesus was the Messiah. The pattern however was the same as in other places. Some believed in Jesus including Crispus the leader of the synagogue and his family, but others became abusive driving Paul out so that he made his base the home of Titius Justus just next door.
This was a pattern of opposition and persecution Paul had become familiar with and although it is not stated directly in the text we conclude that Paul preached the gospel despite his recent experiences and fears for his safety and that of the new believers. The Lord however knowing those fears encouraged and comforted Paul in a vision, telling him not to be afraid, to keep preaching and assuring him of his presence in the words now familiar to us... “For I am with you”. The fact that God spoke to Paul and told him not to be afraid reveals that fear was present but the message he received must have greatly encouraged him and the assurance that God had many people in Corinth no doubt spurred him on.
Telling others about Jesus can be quite a challenge, for some more than others, and it can fill us with fear. Courage is not speaking from a position of safety, but overcoming fear or anxiety and speaking even when there is a risk of verbal or physical abuse. While we must be prayerful about our witness and careful how and when we express our faith, if Jesus truly lives in our hearts and our faith is vibrant then expressed it must be. We may not all have the assurance that our witness will be fruitful in terms of numbers coming to believe but we have each one the assurance of Christ’s presence always. If you are afraid pray about that too, ask for wisdom, ask for courage, ask for the opportunity to speak without embarrassment and expect an answer.
Comments are closed.