It’s easy to be critical. And these days, if we have a problem, we either gripe about it behind closed doors—because surely, it’s just our opinion and we don’t want to offend anyone—or protest publically about it online for all to see.
We’ve all been there where something’s rubbed us the wrong way. A co-worker is promoted, yet you have no clue why—so you vent to your work buddies a couple cubicles over. “Clearly,” you say, “Leadership made the wrong call.” Or maybe an acquaintance posts an offensive comment on social media, so you complain about it to your spouse or mutual friend. Or maybe you pick up on your kid’s coach choosing favorites, and you turn around in the bleachers and grumble about it to other parents.
Priscilla and Aquila were a remarkable couple in the Bible. They were known as Paul’s co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus, and they risked their lives for him and for the sake of the Gospel. But particularly in this message, we see a husband-and-wife team completely gracious, yet wholly devoted to truth.
One day, they crossed paths with a man named Apollos so charismatic in his teaching that he stopped people in their tracks. But as he was speaking in the synagogue, Priscilla and Aquila noticed he didn’t have the full story about Jesus.
They could’ve moved on, so as not to hurt his feelings. They could’ve complained to one another about it as they were lying in bed that night. And they could’ve challenged him right there and then, making a public spectacle of them all.
But we see none of the above. Priscilla and Aquila kindly pulled him aside, graciously told him the whole truth, and encouraged him to keep boldly proclaiming the Gospel. And that’s exactly what he did—we read Apollos went on to Achaia and proved to be of great benefit to those who had believed and refuted the Jews with powerful arguments in public debate. “Using the Scriptures, he explained to them that Jesus was the Messiah.”
Grace and truth are not mutually exclusive from one another. We see all throughout Scripture that they go hand-in-hand. We don’t forfeit truth just to come across as tolerant, and we don’t sacrifice grace only to shove truth down people’s throats. Rather, when we speak truth in love, like Priscilla and Aquila, we’ll enjoy fruitful friendships made up of more than just niceties and surface-level conversations. More than anything, may we have the pleasure of linking arms with co-workers in the ministry of Christ.
- Who do you know that balances grace and truth well?
- May this simple prayer be ours today: “Jesus, you are my example, and you were full of truth and grace. Teach me how to do that as eloquently and naturally as you did.”
Paul Returns to Antioch of Syria
18 Paul stayed in Corinth for some time after that, then said good-bye to the brothers and sisters and went to nearby Cenchrea. There he shaved his head according to Jewish custom, marking the end of a vow. Then he set sail for Syria, taking Priscilla and Aquila with him.
19 They stopped first at the port of Ephesus, where Paul left the others behind. While he was there, he went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews. 20 They asked him to stay longer, but he declined. 21 As he left, however, he said, “I will come back later, God willing.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 The next stop was at the port of Caesarea. From there he went up and visited the church at Jerusalem and then went back to Antioch.
23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul went back through Galatia and Phrygia, visiting and strengthening all the believers.
Apollos Instructed at Ephesus
24 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. 25 He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. 26 When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.
27 Apollos had been thinking about going to Achaia, and the brothers and sisters in Ephesus encouraged him to go. They wrote to the believers in Achaia, asking them to welcome him. When he arrived there, he proved to be of great benefit to those who, by God’s grace, had believed. 28 He refuted the Jews with powerful arguments in public debate. Using the Scriptures, he explained to them that Jesus was the Messiah.
3 Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. 4 In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches. 5 Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home.
Greet my dear friend Epenetus. He was the first person from the province of Asia to become a follower of Christ.
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