After preaching in Corinth for about a year and six months Paul was made to stand before the judgment seat of Gallio, the deputy, or governor proconsul, of that region. Gallio was known as a very affable man, friends with many, and a lover of good times. His brother was Seneca, tutor of Nero, so he was well-connected in this world. Of course, “well-connected” should be understood in a relative sense, because Nero eventually had both Seneca and Gallio killed.
Paul was accused by some Jewish leaders of persuading men in Corinth “to worship God contrary to the law” (Acts 18:13). Later, in 2 Corinthians 5, after writing that “we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ,” Paul pled guilty to the charge of persuading men. He said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” Paul feared the Lord so he evangelized. He went on to also give his love for Christ as another motive for his preaching the Gospel in Corinth and beyond (5:14,15.). It is interesting that Paul was more concerned with the judgement seat of Christ than the judgement seat of Gallio. He was more concerned with loving the Lord than loving his own life.
When good-times Gallio realized the Jewish men had a dispute with Paul over their law he refused to hear anymore about the issue, and even allowed the Gentiles to beat Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, right there at the supposed place of justice. Luke sums up Gallio’s total lack of concern with the simple statement, “And Gallio cared for none of those things” (Acts 18:17). How sad. He should have cared. He should have cared to seek to discern the truth concerning Judaism and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He should have cared that a Jewish leader was set upon by Greek men. I wonder if he had a party to get to. What a shame.
But, I really want you to notice that phrase in Acts 18:14: “And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said…” Think about that. Gallio, this leader, this careless leader, this lost sinner, was just
about to be spoken to by Paul, but he never did hear Paul. Why? Because he had something to say that he deemed more important than whatever Paul stood ready to speak.
Paul had the Gospel. He was the Lord’s servant. He was a Spirit-filled preacher. He could have helped poor Gallio! But Gallio didn’t give him the opportunity. Later we read in Acts how Paul preached to other governors and kings. He preached Christ! He gave his testimony of the amazing grace of God in his life. Gallio missed out on hearing these precious truths from the treasure house of Paul’s heart, because
Gallio cut Paul off just as Paul opened his mouth.
If, like Paul, you are evangelizing, and most don’t let you speak, be encouraged. Keep on speaking up anyway. Be compelled by the fear of the Lord and the love of the Lord. Gallio didn’t give Paul his attention,
but others did. Keep on witnessing. Keep on opening your mouth. Our Lord is worthy of our witnessing of Him.
I wonder, as he lifts up his eyes in the flames of hell, if Gallio has been shrieking to himself for these nearly 2,000 years, “I should have let him speak!” If you haven’t been saved by the grace of God, you should care. You should let one of God’s people speak the truth to you. Don’t cut them off. Give your attention to the Gospel. Let him speak!