[After making a few converts while being ridiculed by some philosophers,] Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had left Italy when Claudius Caesar deported all Jews from Rome. Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was.
Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. And after Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul spent all his time preaching the word. He testified to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed and insulted him, Paul shook the dust from his clothes and said, "Your blood is upon your own heads — I am innocent. From now on I will go preach to the Gentiles."
— Acts 18:1-6 NLT
While we might skip over these verses because of their clustering of names and seemingly insignificant details, we learn a great deal about Paul and his mission efforts.
- Paul was a tentmaker (leatherworker), so he could be self-supporting.
- Aquila and Priscilla shared this occupation and had homes and businesses in Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome.*
- Priscilla and Aquila had been forced out of Rome in A.D. 49 when Claudius banished Jews and Christians** from Rome for a few years because of the disagreements the Jews and the Christians were having about Jesus being the Christ (the Messiah).
- Before turning to Gentiles, Paul continued his pattern of reaching out to the Jewish people proclaiming that Jesus is the promised Christ (Romans 1:16-17).
- Silas, Timothy, Priscilla, and Aquila joined with Paul, which made them a great team. They helped support each other and reached more people as a team than Paul could have ever reached alone.
The early disciples grew in number because leaders built teams to help them in the work of disciple-making. They grew the early church in a world of hard challenges, varying cultures, diverse opinions, and genuine disappointments. However, their commitment to fulfilling the mission Jesus had given them, along with the power of the Holy Spirit propelling them, enabled them to have an incredible impact on their world. Let's live so that similar things will be said about our generation of believers!
Father, forgive me for the times that I have not involved, equipped, and empowered others to help share the message of Jesus but depended too much on my efforts. Open my eyes and my heart to my need to build teams to help grow your Kingdom. Use me to be a blessing and develop other leaders to share Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.