Jul1WedJuly 1, 2020
Jesus knew how to breathe life and purpose into his disciples. Of course, this shouldn’t surprise us because after all He, in His divinity, is the same being who knit them together in their mother’s wombs. During the ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ he encouraged his disciples to see themselves as ‘salt’ in and ‘light’ to the world.
Perhaps they better understood what he meant through his final instructions before his ascension, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8a). Once the Spirit came at Pentecost, the disciples were forever marked as uniquely sent out by God to make disciples and to call others out from under the dominion of darkness. In the years which followed, they grew as ‘salt and light’ by being gracious, bold and sincere.
But there are others within the pages of the New Testament who also displayed some unique characteristics of ‘salt and light.’ Paul’s friends Priscilla and Aquila come to mind. Now Paul wanted every Gentile church to know that this husband and wife team were shining examples (Romans 16:4). Although we don’t know much about their life, let’s glean what we can and consider how they conducted themselves as ‘salt, ‘light’ and a ‘city on a hill.’
First, they were flexible with their earthly plans.
Aquila was born in a region just south of the Black Sea (Acts 18:2). By the time they settled near Rome as tent-makers, he was living at least 1700 miles from his Jewish family! Next, they moved to Greece due to political persecution. Then, they continued to follow Paul as he planted churches. Eventually they settled in Ephesus (18:9) but only after embracing significant life changes.
Second, they were hospitable.
They allowed Paul, an itinerate apostle, to live and work with them for two years in Corinth. Later in Ephesus, their home was used for worship, fellowship and prayer (1 Cor. 16:19). Even after a young pastor named Timothy began to lead their Ephesian congregation, Priscilla and Aquila’s’ faithful involvement remained. Clearly they welcomed Paul, Timothy and many others into their home and lives.
Third, they corrected with gentleness. While in Ephesus, an intelligent and articulate man entered town and began to preach. However, some of his theology was a little off. As a couple, they took Apollos aside and showed him his error. We may assume that this correction was gentle because of how he received it, because of their ongoing partnership with Apollos, and because of Paul’s accolades towards them as a couple.
Priscilla and Aquila only appear within a few verses in Scripture, but their flexibility, hospitality and gentle correction set them apart as ‘salt’ and ‘light’ within the Early Church.
May these characteristics also shine in us during these trying days in order that others may see Jesus alive in us and give glory to our Father in Heaven. Amen!