When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus. When they opposed and reviled him, in protest he shook the dust from his clothes and said to them, ‘Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.’
Things had obviously not gone very well with the Jews in Corinth, but there were still some who accepted the message:
Then he left the synagogue and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshipper of God; his house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the official of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers and were baptized. One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.’ He stayed there for a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. (Acts 18:1-11)
The verse I meditated on this morning was 18:9, “One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.’” Paul drew encouragement from the Lord’s reassurance, “Do not be afraid.” But I wondered whether the dream and the vision were simply a literary device to tell us that Paul drew reassurance and courage from the people around him: Aquila and Priscilla, Silas and Timothy, Titus Justus, Crispus and his family, and others not mentioned by Luke.
In difficult situations Jesus doesn’t appear to me in a dream, but he certainly has ways of telling me “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” He says this especially through the loving support of my brothers in the monastery, but also through the care and concern of relatives and friends. If I know how to watch and listen I'll hear Jesus telling me every day the same thing he told Paul in that wild city of Corinth, “Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.”