Sosthenes Acts 18 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When Paul went to Corinth, he reasoned in the synagogue and persuaded Jews and Greeks. Notice the difference between these two. In 1 Cor 1:22, Jews require a sign; Greeks seek after wisdom. In 1 Cor 1:23 Jesus is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks. So, there were Jews and Gentiles meeting in a synagogue of the Jews hearing Paul [as in Acts 14:1-2].
The Jews in Corinth, as in other places where Paul preached, rejected Jesus Christ [Acts 18:5-6]. So, Paul moved out of the synagogue and started teaching in the house of Justus, who lived “next door” to the synagogue [Acts 18:7]. Amazingly, Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue got saved [Acts 18:8]. In 1 Cor 1:14 we see that Paul baptized him. That did it for Crispus, as he was no longer the chief ruler of the synagogue after that.
The Lord assured Paul that no harm would come to him in Corinth as a result of his preaching there [Acts 18:9-10]. So, he stuck around for one year and six months continuing to teach and preach [Acts 18:11]. Finally, the Jews made insurrection against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat of Gallio, who drove them from the judgment seat since he would not exercise jurisdiction over their “religious matters,” [Acts 18:12-16].
In retaliation, the Greeks took Sosthenes, who was now the chief ruler [following Crispus], and beat him before the judgment seat. Gallio didn’t care for any of this [Acts 18:17]. And so rather than leave, Paul tarried there a good while [Acts 18:18].
Now here’s an astonishing thing: Sosthenes got saved [1 Cor 1:1]. And not only that, but he traveled with Paul and joined Paul in writing back home to the Corinthians from Philippi. Imagine this! He took a beating because of Jesus Christ before he had even gotten saved. And following such rude treatment he still trusted Jesus Christ and even took a stand for him with Paul, the man because of whom he had received the beating.
What can we conclude from these events in Sosthenes’ life?
No one has been so affronted by the gospel that he cannot be saved – don’t give up on that one soul whom you have already written off – it may seem impossible to you that he could be saved – yet, remember Sosthenes – your friend may still get saved.
You never know who might be affected by your testimony – Crispus had been the chief ruler before Sosthenes – it must have greatly affected Sosthenes to know that he had gotten saved and it must have made it easier for him to trust Christ, too.
God sometimes uses the most unlikely candidates to serve him – if anyone had a reason to be jaded against the gospel, it was Sosthenes – and yet, not only did he get saved but he “joined the team” and began traveling with Paul – if God used Sosthenes he can certainly use you or that person whom you think God would never be able to use.
Salvation truly reconciles former enemies – when we get saved we are reconciled to God against whom we had formerly been enemies and we are reconciled to those of his children against whom we had been enemies.
There is no reason to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ – Sosthenes didn’t remain a “silent” Christian – he had already taken his beating for Christ – likewise, we should be encouraged to not be silent – ridicule is harder for us to take than a beating sometimes – so don’t be ashamed of Christ – if Sosthenes could take it so can we.
Conclusion: What is it in Sosthenes’ life that brings conviction in yours – is it the fact that he could take a beating and you cannot take ridicule? Perhaps, he has encouraged you to start praying again for that person who was so offended by the gospel that you thought he could never get saved. Perhaps, he has encouraged you to sharpen your testimony; partly because of Crispus Sosthenes got saved. Perhaps, he has encouraged you to realize that God can use you even though you have been upset about something that happened to you because of the gospel. Perhaps, he has encouraged you to go to an enemy with the gospel; your reconciliation might be in Jesus Christ!!