On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.
Thoughts for Today:Previously, Apollos had just completed "finishing" school under the tutelage of Priscilla and Aquila. With the support and encouragement of the brothers in Ephesus, he pursued his first mission and had now arrived in the province of Achaia. I find interesting the phrase, "he was a great help to those who by grace had believed." It implies that the great need in Achaia at that time was for a teacher (probably because there were many new believers), so the Lord prepared and sent Apollos.
If you remember back to when you first became a Christian, I'm sure you can relate to that incredible hunger and thirst you once felt to just be at church with other Christians, reading and studying the Word. You just couldn't get enough. I'm sure the believers in Achaia were no different, so the Lord brought forth Apollos to not just feed them, but to also come to their defense in the public debates. "Wait a minute," you might say. "A public debate of Christian principles versus Judaism? It seems so intolerant." But is it?
Throughout the Bible we see case after case of the Lord preparing and bringing forth a spokesperson: Moses, Jonah, Elijah, and John the Baptist to name just a few. In the cases of Moses (when confronting Pharaoh) and Elijah (pitted against the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 hundred prophets of Asherah), the Lord communicated His will through spectacular public demonstrations of His power. Although the Lord regularly performs miracles, it is also through words (His Word -- Scripture and the Word -- Jesus) that He chooses to speak to us and to the world. Most of the time, the words of the spokesperson the Lord has chosen are intended to come directly against and in opposition to the teaching of the world, in a very public forum.
We see this in our passage today, when Apollos was not only a great help through his teaching but also as "he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ." Have we, as "modern Christians," bought too much into the current dribble about religious tolerance that we are no longer willing to come out in public debate to defend our beliefs and refute other religions and practices? Perhaps when an antagonist comes out against something as fundamental as the words on our currency, "In God We Trust," rather than silently listening to a one sided presentation, a more public debate is needed so the Christian viewpoint might be more thoroughly voiced and heard. Are there any Apollos' out there?
Questions to Ponder:God raised up Apollos who "vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate." Why are we so afraid to do the same? I believe we (as the body of believers) spend far too much time preaching among one another, when our real mission is to reach and save the world. What do you think? Are you ready for a public debate? Where has God put you as His spokesperson, and how could you start now?