Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. (Acts 18:8)
Crispus Becomes A Disciple
Stories of conversion always stir the heart when the change that takes place in a person’s life is dramatic. Saul of Tarsus becoming a believer in the risen Christ changed the face of the world. The eunuch from Ethiopia, a jailer in Philippi and Simon the sorcerer are a few of the powerful stories of the gospel changing the hearts of men to serve the true and living God. For some who obey the gospel the price paid is not very high in comparison to others who give up so much to serve the Lord. Crispus was a man who had a place of prominence in Corinth as the ruler of the local synagogue. He had specific duties attached to the keeping of the synagogue and his responsibilities were to care for the arrangement and services of the synagogue. Paul came to town and as his custom went to the synagogue to persuade Jews and Greeks of the Christ. He reasoned every Sabbath confounding those who rejected Jesus as the Christ until finally a marked change came in the work of Paul. The Jews continued to oppose Paul strenuously and Paul had enough. He stood before those in the synagogue and shook his garment before them declaring their blood be upon them; he would now turn his attention to the Gentiles. Next door to the synagogue lived a certain man named Justus and Paul stayed with him.
The teaching of Paul had a marked effect on the ruler of the synagogue. While his fellow Jews opposed Paul and blasphemed him, Crispus was taking careful notes of Paul’s arguments and how he defended the teaching of Jesus as the Christ. Paul’s demeanor was from a reasoning standpoint. His teaching was not a boastful or arrogant interpretation of scripture. The apostle took the word of God and allowed the power of its message to show the reasoning power of Jesus to be the Christ. Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets all showed the coming of the Christ as fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth. Crispus listened closely. He believed what Paul reasoned and then made a tremendous decision. His position as ruler of the synagogue would be lost if he believed Jesus is the Christ. Did he discuss this with his family? What would be the impact of him following the teaching of Paul and how would this impact his life and his family? The decision was made. Crispus approached Paul and along with his household, were baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins.
It would not have taken long for the news to reach the ears of the Jewish rulers of the baptism of Crispus. Whether he resigned or was released, Crispus gave up his position as ruler of the synagogue to serve Jesus Christ. A new ruler was appointed named Sosthenes. He would later regret that decision but Crispus was out. Many of the Corinthians believed. Could it have been as a result of the example of Crispus? The scriptures are silent but here is a man who was willing to crucify himself for the cause of Christ giving up worldly honors and prestige because of his faith in the King of Kings. He made a sacrifice because of his love for truth. Paul would later remark in his first letter to the Corinthians church he only baptized Crispus and Gaius. Crispus was a man of courage who stood for the Christ in the face of losing a place of prominence. Because he humbled himself God exalted him to a place of redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. Crispus could see eternal salvation was more important than earthly praise.
Through the legions of years many saints have given their lives, possessions, health and all they possess to obtain one single merit of grace from a loving God. Everyone must pay a price to be a follower of Jesus Christ but some pay a higher duty than others. These examples of faith stir the hearts of godly men to live more fully before the Lord as men like Crispus and his household lead the way in the glory of the cross. Jesus gave up Heaven to come and die on earth. Whether the price is high or not in our life, it cost Jesus everything. There is nothing we give up that will measure to His sacrifice. God be thanked for those who leave an example of complete surrender to the will of God. Crispus believed on the Lord with all his household. Thank you Crispus for your example of servitude.