but when gallio was proconsul of achaia, the jews made a united attack on paul and brought him before the tribunal, saying, “this man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.” [acts 18:12-13]
gallio, a leader of the newly formed region of achaia, makes a brief appearance as paul is brought before him by the leaders of the jews in corinth–and they make an accusation:
“this man is persuading people to worship God contrary to the law.”
the questions that must be asked are “what law?” and “who’s law?”
this is a very fascinating scene, because once again, the jewish leaders are appealing to and roman authorities to enforce law, even when there is no jurisdiction–either the jews believe that paul is violating their own jewish laws and scriptures (which of course, he is not) and so, like pilate in pilate’s case–
so pilate went outside to them and said, “what accusation do you bring against this man?” they answered him, “if this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” pilate said to them, “take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” [john 18:29-31a]
–the roman authorities should not be involved at all.
alternatively, sosthenes and the other leaders of the jews are accusing paul of not honoring the false god, caesar–and therefore–roman law. their language is deceptive and ambiguous enough to bring any charge that sticks so that paul is punished.
if we are faithful in sharing the gospel, the good news that Jesus came as the only Savior to live a perfect life, died, and was raised so that we might believe in him to have eternal life, we may be told that the gospel in its exclusivity violates man’s law of toleration and acceptance. we too, may be brought before the rulers to face charges that we are persuading people to worship God, contrary to (man’s) law. know that Jesus said this would be so–
and when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” [luke 12:11-12]
oh, what a truth that we are taught by the Holy Spirit–it is that Spirit, living within us that allows us to come into the presence of our Holy God! let us live in the Spirit today, empowered to speak the truth of the gospel of Jesus, no matter the cost!