“Crispus, the leader of the synaggue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord.” — Acts 18:8
Paul first visited Corinth during his second missionary journey. As was his practice, he began his ministry in a new city by making contact with the local Jewish synagogue. He obviously created a weekly stir, showing up every Sabbath with a fresh dose of the gospel.
Eventually some of the Jewish leaders banded together in opposition to Paul, and a confrontation occurred. Their rejection left Paul free to turn his attention to the Gentiles.
One person caught in the middle of the conflict was Crispus, the leader of the synagogue. Paul’s message had reached him. But when Paul was forced out of the synagogue, Crispus was faced with a choice: He could remain in the safety of his religious role or openly declare his belief in Jesus.
His choice to believe became a family decision, and his household became followers of Christ, too. Paul even baptized him. Luke attributes to Crispus’ public faith the rapid growth of the church in Corinth. His decision opened a way for others to trust Christ. People who step out in faith are rarely alone for long.
We live in a day and in a culture that is violently opposed to the gospel of Christ and the message of the Bible. The downward spiral of moral and spiritual decay has sharply divided the practice of our culture from the preaching of Christians. The ashen ground of neutrality has disappeared, ushering in a cynicism and intolerance that I have not seen in my 37 years as a Christian.
As we say in the South, “the lines have been drawn!” As with Crispus, a life-altering decision must be made. Will we continue on in the religious routines of the past? To stay where we are could mean relying on the comfortable, the predictable, the palatable.
God is not committed to our comfort, but instead to our conversion and our character. Crispus’ faith was a challenge to the status quo. Such is the life of one who leads by example. Following Christ brings division with the world. To follow Him leads us away from the well-worn path of death and destruction to the narrow way of real life (Matthew 7:13-14)!
You may not know what difference it will make, but others will be watching your life today. Live for Christ! Don’t look around and take your cue from what everyone else is doing. Look up to him. Step where you see Christ walking and you will truly be leading by example!