Acts 18:5-6 (HCSB)
5 When Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with preaching the message and solemnly testified to the Jews that the Messiah is Jesus.6 But when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook out his clothes and told them, “Your blood is on your own heads! I am clean. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
When Paul got to a new town he typically took the gospel to the Jews first. When Silas and Timothy arrived in Corinth from Macedonia, this freed-up Paul to do just that. But he wasn’t well received.
In fact, Luke tells us that Jews went a bit further than simply rejecting his message…they resisted and blasphemed. But the Greek word here is even more descriptive. Luke says the Jews responded to Paul’s message with hubrisso (in English hubris means pride or arrogance). It means to mistreat or treat shamefully. An authoritative Greek lexicon (TDNT) says: “It expresses insulting or outrageous treatment which is calculated publicly to insult and openly humiliate the person who suffers from it.”
Seems like we’re seeing more and more hubrisso these days…
Paul’s response is pretty strong: “Your blood is on your own heads.” I imagine when Paul said this he had Ezekiel’s famous “watchman” prophecy in mind: Ezekiel 33:7-9 (HCSB) 7 “As for you, son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, give them a warning from Me. 8 If I say to the wicked: Wicked one, you will surely die, but you do not speak out to warn him about his way, that wicked person will die for his iniquity, yet I will hold you responsible for his blood. 9 But if you warn a wicked person to turn from his way and he doesn’t turn from it, he will die for his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.
This is the challenging side of evangelism. On the one hand, it is a joy to deliver good news to people. On the other hand, when God tells us to share and we refuse, we’re held accountable. So here’s some free advice for today: radical obedience. If the Lord tells you to say something, say it. If he tells you to do something, do it…and keep at it until he tells you to quit. Wouldn’t life work better for us if that were the case? Just a thought…