Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever.
Thoughts for Today:If you have a talent for remembering difficult names, you might say, "Wait a minute, wasn't Crispus (from verse 8), the synagogue ruler?" You will also recall that he, along with his whole household, became believers and were baptized. I'm sure the Jews didn't want a Christ follower to rule the synagogue, so he was replaced with Sosthenes. In our passage today, apparently the Jews felt that Sosthenes had not made a strong enough case before the proconsul (Gallio) so they beat him -- perhaps hoping this demonstration of lawlessness would motivate Gallio to change his mind about Paul. Ultimately, it did not as "Gallio showed no concern whatever."
Later on in 1 Corinthians 1:1, Paul greets Sosthenes, so guess who else got converted while Paul was in Corinth? That's right, Sosthenes, the beaten synagogue ruler. As I was studying and reflecting on our passage today, I realized that often times people are brought to salvation when, like Sosthenes, they are beaten up. Do you know someone right now who is not a believer and is in the process of being beat up? Many times, God uses the process of bringing us to our lowest point as a means to bring a person to salvation by revealing a need for Jesus.
How many times have you heard someone telling their story of salvation -- about how it was only after they had reached the lowest point in their life that they came to know Jesus? If you are like me you have heard such a story repeated hundreds if not thousands of times. What about Christians rediscovering their faith in the midst of the greatest trial or tribulation of their life? Same thing, hundreds of times -- right? Then why are we so afraid of having others go through hard experiences, when being led to complete reliance on the Lord is what many people need most?
Questions to Ponder:Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it's good to be beaten or publicly humiliated. We need to show compassion and do our part in keeping a responsible, orderly society. What I am saying is: when all of our solutions haven't worked out; when we're all out of ideas; when there are no more resources and the world as we know it stops making sense -- that is when we are most open to God. It may be to know Him for the first time, or to become refreshed in our relationship with Christ. Has your kind heart jumped in ahead of prompting from the Holy Spirit and gotten in the way of someone's opportunity to meet the Lord face to face? How could you be sensitive to God's work in such circumstances and still be there to help others in need?