The Jews of Corinth were opposed to Paul’s message and trumped up charges against him. After Paul was cleared of any charges by the judge, the crowd vented their anger on Sosthenes. Acts 18: 17 The crowd then grabbed Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him right there in the courtroom. But Gallio paid no attention.
What about the beating of poor Sosthenes? Sosthenes was the new leader of the synagogue. Crispus, an earlier leader, had become a Christian (Acts18:8) and Sosthenes was probably his replacement.
Was Sosthenes, as leader of the synagogue, the instigator of the trumped-up causes? When the plan backfired, did the Jews take their frustration out on him? Or did the Greeks in the crowd take advantage of the judge’s indifference to Jews to beat up the head Jew?
A third possibility is that Sosthenes was sympathetic to Paul’s message. From 1 Corinthians 1:1, it appears that Sosthenes appears to become a believer and joins Paul on his next mission trip. Perhaps the Jews realized how much they had lost in this court ruling and took it out on Sosthenes. We can’t be sure who exactly was beating him; Scripture isn’t clear.
What is certain that Gallio demonstrates his disdain for the Jews by totally ignoring the incident. Prejudice was as common in Paul’s time as it is in our time. It is part of our sinful, human condition. Here are some verses that speak to prejudice:
John 7: 24 Stop judging based on the superficial. First you must embrace the standards of mercy and truth.”
James 2:1My dear brothers and sisters, fellow believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ—how could we say that we have faith in him and yet we favor one group of people above another?
1 John 4: 20 Anyone can say, “I love God,” yet have hatred toward another believer. This makes him a phony, because if you don’t love a brother or sister, whom you can see, how can you truly love God, whom you can’t see? 21 For he has given us this command: whoever loves God must also demonstrate love to other. How can the Lord help you be more loving towards others? Ask Him for help and He will show you how. To hear more about Paul in Corinth, listen here: https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/series/mission-trip-two-radio-show/faithful-to-persevere