In Corinth, the Jews of the synagogue kept on opposing Paul’s efforts to bring them to Christ. Finally, Paul had had enough! “When they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his garments and said to them, ‘Your blood be upon your own heads! I am clean. From now on I shall go to the Gentiles'” (Acts 18:6).
Symbolically, Paul was saying that the unbelieving synagogue was in the crosshairs of God’s wrath, like Sodom and Gomorrah. A fire and brimstone payload was already freefalling toward the God-defying target. And Paul didn’t want a speck of synagogue dust in the folds of his tunic, lest he be mistaken as a resident of that doomed address.
“And Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord” (18:8a). Could it be that Paul’s severe and abrupt departure left in the synagogue a howling silence, that the gospel was heard no more, that Crispus could only hear the whistling payload nearing, and that he tremblingly fled from the wrath to come?
In such ways, the Spirit alarms, and awakens the dead.
Alexander Maclaren writes: “Thus men are sometimes brought to decision for Christ by the apparently impending possibility of His gospel leaving them to themselves. . . Severity sometimes effects what forbearance fails to achieve. If the train is on the point of starting, the hesitating passenger will swiftly make up his mind and rush for a seat. It is permissable to press for immediate decision on the ground that the time is short.” (Expositions, vol 12, p152)
Who knows? These words may be the caboose for you.Mark Chanski Reformed Baptist Church of Holland