Now What? … If you check this blog regularly, ‘Now what?’ is a question you may have been asking over the last few weeks. I assure you that my silence is not because I have been ignoring my commitment to you. In fact, you are on my heart and mind every time I sit down to study, regardless of how prolific I may (or may not) seem. So to answer ‘Now what?’ question, let’s go to Acts 18 and pick up with verse 24:
“Meanwhile, there was a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, who came to Ephesus…” (Amplified)
As much as I’d like to sprint through the coming verses, I just can’t do it … at least not without first taking the bait here in verse 24. What bait? The word meanwhile (or a similar word depending on your translation) is a lure begging us grab hold, so that we can be drawn toward what is just out of our sight. Look back at the preceding verses. What was going on in the meanwhile?
Paul had left Corinth with his new friends Priscilla and Aquila and headed for Syria. On their way, they stopped at Ephesus (vs. 18-19). Although Paul couldn’t stay in Ephesus at the time, he left Priscilla and Aquila there, in hopes that he himself could someday return (vs. 19-22). Meanwhile … go ahead and read Acts 18:24-26.
While Paul leaving the others in Ephesus doesn’t seem like that big of a deal back in verses 19-22, we see in verses 24-26 that their continued presence in Ephesus was pivotal for the life and ministry of a new man on the scene, Apollos. Apollos came to Ephesus powerfully teaching the Scriptures (what we would recognize as the Old Testament) along with the baptism of John. That is, Apollos knew the prophecies concerning the Jewish Messiah – the Christ – and John the Baptist’s preaching of urgency to repent in preparation for His coming (Lk 3:1-18), but Apollos didn’t yet know Jesus by name (vs. 25). Priscilla and Aquila had the privilege of sharing the Good News with Apollos. I imagine their opening words to be similar to Paul’s recorded in Acts 19:4: “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, continually telling the people that they should believe in the One Who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” The Christ Whom Apollos had been preparing for had come and He “died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures … was buried … and arose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold” (1 Cor 15:3-4).
All of a sudden, I’m thinking of Back to the Future. You know when Marty goes back to 1955 and tells Doc that what he was dreaming of had come true – the flux capacitor, time travel, … Doc didn’t receive Marty’s message with skepticism, but rather with excitement! Read Acts 18:27-28 to see how Apollos reacted to the Good News.
How did you describe Apollos’s response? I think Apollos did what God wants us all to do – not that we all must have a desire to travel abroad, but that our desire would be to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others! Once again Priscilla and Aquila’s presence in Ephesus proves important to God’s work through Apollos in that they – having lived in Achaia, Corinth specifically – were able to send a letter with Apollos, introducing him as a friend to be trusted.
Now What? Well, we started today by taking the bait back in Acts 18:24. If you look just into Acts 19:1, you’ll quickly see another ‘lure’ – “While Apollos was in Corinth, …” (emphasis mine). I encourage you to take the bait again and read into Acts 19. Look for a continuation of themes and circumstances we have studied today. I’ll catch up to you again in Acts 19:11. Until then …
Lord God, I pray that we as believers will be hooked on Your Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to draw us increasingly closer to You. Knowledge isn’t power. The application of knowledge is power, so like the men and women of Scripture, I ask that You give us eyes to see opportunities to apply every lesson. In Jesus’s name, Amen.