Teaching and preaching in Corinth (18.1) for around eighteen months (v.11) Paul inevitably runs into resistance. The local religious leaders (Ἰουδαῖοι ) came to Galio…proconsul of Achaia and demanded that Paul be stopped because he was
“…persuading people to worship God in a way contrary to the law!”
This could have gone very wrong for Paul. A Roman proconsul proclaiming that Paul cannot preach and teach about Jesus would have, essentially, stopped his ministry in the entire Empire. Thankfully Galio seems to be pretty switched-on to what is his job and what is not:
“If it were a matter of some crime or serious piece of villainy, I would have been justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews, but since it concerns points of disagreement about words and names and your own law, settle it yourselves. I will not be a judge of these things!”
Giving Paul the equivalent of his permission to keep on preaching and teaching about Jesus, Galio will hear none of the Jewish complaints. Sadly this then turns the heat, for some reason, on Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue (perhaps for allowing Paul to repeatedly speak there?). Sosthenes is beaten in front of the tribunal…but Galio paid no attention.
For you and for me, the same God who ordered circumstances and guided minds to allow Paul to continue his ministry orders circumstances and guides minds for you. The place you find yourself, the people you find yourself surrounded by, are no accidents.
The same God who, through Galio here gave the fledgling Christian community the same religio licita privileges as Jews and therefore allowed the Word to take root in Corinth still moves in our lives today, for His glory and our good (cf. Romans 8.28).