After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. (Acts 18:1-3 KJV)
Today, I want to talk to you about a husband and wife: a missionary couple- one whose marriage was not merely for ‘settlement’, but for the expansion of God’s Kingdom- one whose story would be told for all eternity- a husband (Aquila) and the wife (Priscilla). The man was born in Pontus, and returned from Italy to Corinth (because of an edict of the Emperor chasing the Jews who believed in Christ.) We are not told about his wife’s place of birth, but as at the time we met them in the Bible, they were married. Do you notice that the Bible in most cases is silent on how marriages were contracted by the brethren in the Bible? Why do you think this is so? Maybe to let us know that there isn’t a specific pattern to marriage when it comes to individuals; just that the general principles of purity must be observed, but God’s utmost concern is the working together of husband and wife to make their marriage count for an eternal purpose.
There was an essence around their ministerial labours that made it important that they somehow hanged around each other. There were apostles and brethren whose wives did not feature much in the ministry… Not because they were not spiritual, but that was how God wanted it. But for this couple, there was a sense in which they laboured together. You never met them apart in Scriptures… Search for the husband and you will surely find the wife there too. This is not a pattern for every single Christian family, but this was the pattern for this couple who will change the world and for some Christian homes today. Though it is not necessarily a must that such couples today should have exactly the same jobs (as Aquila and Priscilla were), but it is essential that none should have a passion more overriding than a labouring together for the salvation and discipleship of men and apostles.
Like Paul, they were tentmakers- manufacturers of tents. I feel that the wife really played a role in her husband’s life. She laid down all her life for her husband, and was indeed selfless… Yes… And I tell you, somehow they achieved so much than they would have ever achieved alone. She was a strong woman in her own right, and must have provided some measure of guidance and support to her husband I discover that sometimes God responds to a man’s weaknesses by giving strength to his wife to help him; so each man must learn to cultivate the strength and grace in his wife.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. (Romans 16:3-5a KJV)
Look at that scripture, do you notice something? The key word is “they laid down their own necks”, not directly for the “sake of Jesus”, because that would have been understandable, but for the sake of Paul. They risked (endangered) their lives to save Paul’s life and to keep him going in life and ministry. That’s another thing. No mention was made of their children, and I don’t know why- we must not presume. But there are many other ways they must have risked their lives for Paul’s sake. They discovered that Paul had a special assignment from God, and they did all they could to protect and help him. Please note that it would have been difficult for the husband to lay down his life, if the wife did not believe fully in the ministry of the Apostle.
Notice this also… It says that not only Paul, but ALL THE GENTILE CHURCHES owns this couple gratitude. Can you imagine that? There was no single Gentile Church that could not somehow trace the roots of their gratitude to this couple. How did they achieve that? By their strategic labours. There were 2 prominent Apostles to the Gentiles: Paul and Apollos; and these two owed great gratitude to the couple. They were Gold diggers- treasure hunters. They were teachers of Apostles.
And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. (Acts 18:24-26 KJV)
You see how they saw Apollos and recognized God’s gift inside of him even though he didn’t know so much. Instead of disparaging him, they took him aside and taught him God’s word more accurately. They were very spiritual, that was why they easily discerned things. They were so WORDED, that they could help another. In addition to that, a Church still met in their house; and who knows how many more prophets, apostles and evangelists or pastor/teachers were raised by them.
Sincerely, I believe they prayed together. This can be deduced from the fact that they had one spirit, and that doesn’t happen automatically. It’s a husband and wife that are really together (in prayers) that can easily share one spirit. Much more; they weren’t moved by nor envied other people’s ministry, but were content and gave in their all to their ministerial calling and to helping others rise to a kingdom purpose.
One more thing: they continued till the end. I send greetings to Priscilla and Aquila and to the family of Onesiphorus. (2 Timothy 4:19 GNB). 2 Timothy was Paul’s last letter before his death. In that letter, he still greeted this couple. While brothers like Demas had already deserted the ship, this couple was still firing on. They may have taken only a few verses in scriptures, but they surely fill volumes in the heavenly books. I tell you.
AND SO? Most times we think about our marriage, and the first thing that comes to our head is settlement, only I and my wife (or husband), and so on. I only pray that we will realize that our marriages are supposed to be a fort for the furtherance of God’s kingdom on the earth; not only through our biological children, but also through spiritual children and other members of the body of Christ who we help and strengthen the course of this Christian journey. May the lives of this couple remain a challenge for us as we go about our proposals, engagements, weddings, etc.; that our lives and our marriages will count for an eternal purpose. Amen.