Paul has been supporting himself by making tents in Corinth while waiting for his companions to come back from Thessalonica with a report about the church there. “When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus”(Acts 18:5). He receives good news from Silas and Timothy and dedicates himself to preaching in Corinth (perhaps even giving up tentmaking for a while).
“And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles”(Acts 18:6). Shaking out clothes is a symbolic gesture in which even the dust of an evil town is considered defiling and must be removed (Matt 10:14). “Your blood be on your own heads” means that Paul has discharged his duty to warn them of God’s word and now the responsibility is theirs. Evidently this statement is quite effective, since after Paul leaves the synagogue, he converts the ruler of the synagogue and a number of Corinthians (Acts 18:8).
We have a responsibility to help others understand God’s will for them, yet there comes a point when people are responsible for their own decisions. Paul discerns that their obstinacy will make further work pointless. He has done what he can and declares, “I am innocent.” Christians must grasp what is their duty to those around them—and what is beyond their ability and responsibility.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Is there someone in my life to whom I need to speak God’s truth?
One Thing to Pray For: Discernment to know when to move on from obstinate listeners
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