12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews of Corinth made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the place of judgment. 13 “This man,” they charged, “is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law.” 14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to them, “If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. 15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law—settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things.” 16 So he drove them off. 17 Then the crowd there turned on Sosthenes the synagogue leader and beat him in front of the proconsul; and Gallio showed no concern whatever.
It’s interesting to think about Gallio’s perspective on Paul’s activities. In one sense he saw it as it really was – a difference in ways of worshipping God. But in another sense, he saw if completely wrong – this was about very different understandings of God.
I regularly hear people talking about all religions being the same. And if you don’t look closely, they can appear this way, to be sure. But the truth is, for Paul and these his equally committed Jewish opponents, Christianity and Judaism were chalk and cheese different.
I am called to take care in how I present my hope in Jesus, but I am also reminded that not everyone will be pleased with what I have to say. Some will oppose me quite passionately. To the uncommitted or disinterested, talk of religion is same-same. To those deeply committed, it’s a much more tense and potentially angry affair.
Lord, I like to keep the peace. But unfortunately, that won’t always be possible as I represent you. Give me boldness to proclaim you clearly, fearlessly in the face of opposition, but always with the aim and in the hope of seeing people discover you.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh