Fugitives and Fellow Workers
Priscilla and Aquila were key figures in the early church.
Romans 16:3-4 (NIV)
3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
Who were they? They were Jews, on the run, refugees displaced from Rome by Claudius. They also happened to be tent makers by trade. In Corinth, they met a man named Paul.
Acts 18 (NIV)
18 After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
(Paul is accused before Gallio the proconsul)
Priscilla, Aquila and Apollos
18 Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow he had taken. 19 They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila. He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined. 21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. 22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.
23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
- Paul introduced them to Jesus, and they became believers.
- They travelled with Paul to Ephesus, and stayed there with the new church they had helped plant.
- They used their business to support Paul and the work of the Gospel.
24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.
- Apollos become one of the most effective speakers and defenders of the message of Jesus.
- Without Aquila and Priscilla, he would only have half the story.
1 Corinthians 16:19-20 (NIV)
19 The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house. 20 All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
- Aquila and Priscilla used their home effectively. They had a church there, and it was in their home they taught Apollos.
- They were not pastors, preachers, or evangelists. They were refugees who made the most of every moment.
Lessons we can learn from Aquila and Priscilla:
- Your present doesn’t have to control your future…unless you stay there.
- They were refugees, asked to leave their home city.
- They didn’t give up – they kept working.
- God has a way of putting us in the right place at the right time if we commit our lives to Him.
- Proverbs 16:9 (NIV) In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
- Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths.
- They demonstrate two of the most common reactions to the message of Jesus – generosity and grace.
- They used what they had to bless others.
- They were gracious and welcoming to Apollos, coming along side to teach him, not judging him for his incomplete knowledge.
- Are you ruled by your past or trusting God for your future?
- Are you using your everyday life and the opportunities you have to bless others?