Unstoppable! 'Historical Intersection with Gallio' — Acts 18:12-17

Sunday, September 10, 2023

But when Gallio became governor of Achaia, some Jews rose up together against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment. They accused Paul of "persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our law."

But just as Paul started to make his defense, Gallio turned to Paul's accusers and said, "Listen, you Jews, if this were a case involving some wrongdoing or a serious crime, I would have a reason to accept your case. But since it is merely a question of words and names and your Jewish law, take care of it yourselves. I refuse to judge such matters." And he threw them out of the courtroom.

The crowd then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom. But Gallio paid no attention.

— Acts 18:12-17 NLT

Key Thought

The things Luke described here — especially mentioning Gallio (Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus) as "governor of Achaia" — allow us to date these events accurately as occurring in A.D. 51-52. Luke tied the story of Jesus and his church to Roman history throughout his first volume (the Gospel of Luke) and his second volume (the book of Acts). Throughout the six decades the story covers, Rome and her officials were sometimes largely disinterested in Jesus and his followers and sometimes quite open to them.* We must never forget that the Spirit had Luke anchor Jesus' story in real human history. Real people experienced the physical presence of God among them in Jesus. Christianity was not an escape from human reality to some ethereal philosophy, but nitty gritty faith lived out in the real world as Jesus' followers worked to bring God's Kingdom to life on earth (Luke 4:14-21, 11:2-4). That is still our calling as Jesus' disciples.

* See our Related Scripture Readings for examples.

Today's Prayer

Almighty God, many of us are troubled today by the wickedness, injustice, violence, and indecency of our world. We are frustrated by some aspects of politics, and we distrust some of our media. We ask you, dear Father, to comfort our hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit. Fill us with a renewed zeal to do your work in our world with courage, perseverance, grace, and hope. As we look at your early disciples in Acts, the Spirit reminds us that we are part of your unstoppable movement of grace in a broken world. Please, dear Lord, work in us to turn our cynicism into commitment, courage, and kindness. We ask this as your children, in the name of our older brother, Jesus. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Luke 1:1-4, 5, 2:1-2, 3:1
  • Luke 7:1-10, 23:47, Acts 10:1-48, 22:25-30, 23:23-35, 24:23, 27:1-43

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 18:12-17 NLT — But when Gallio became governor of Achaia, some Jews rose up together against Paul and brought him before the governor for judgment. They accused Paul of "persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to our law."

But just as Paul started to make his defense, Gallio turned to Paul's accusers and said, "Listen, you Jews, if this were a case involving some wrongdoing or a serious crime, I would have a reason to accept your case. But since it is merely a question of words and names and your Jewish law, take care of it yourselves. I refuse to judge such matters." And he threw them out of the courtroom.

The crowd then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom. But Gallio paid no attention.

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.