Acts 14: Gods — or Otherwise
Acts 14:8 -10 In Lystra a man without strength in his feet, lame from birth, and who had never walked, sat and heard Paul speaking. After observing him closely and seeing that he had faith to be healed, Paul said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet!” And he jumped up and started to walk around.
Paul and Barnabas were on a missionary journey, and had arrived in Lystra, after fleeing from Iconium. There had been signs and wonders in Iconium, but non-believers had stirred up people so that they wanted to stone Paul and Barnabas. The two left, going to another town to tell people about Jesus.
This story reminds me of the story in Acts chapter 3, in which Peter tells a lame man who is over 40 years old “In the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (part of Acts 3:6). Some Jewish leaders ordered Peter and John to stop preaching about Jesus and healing in his name. Peter and John ignored them, and kept on preaching.
Peter and John were threatened by the Jewish leaders. Paul and Barnabas faced opposition of a different kind: the people of Lystra mistook them for the gods Zeus and Hermes and a priest of Zeus prepared to offer sacrifices to them! Paul and Barnabas had to try to convince the people that they were mortals, but they had a hard time stopping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
The crowd saw the miracle — and responded to it, but did not respond correctly to the message that went with it: the need to repent of sin and believe in Jesus. What happened next is sooooo interesting . . .
Acts 14:19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they had won over the crowds and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city thinking he was dead.
What ???? Several verses before this, the crowd had wanted to offer sacrifices to Paul and now they are helping to stone him or at least allowing the Jews to stone him? Remind me to never trust emotional crowds . . .
A good plan for my life would be to be very careful which ‘crowd’ I hang around with — and see if my crowd can change direction in a very short time.
The reaction of Paul is even more telling. He wasn’t dead — after the disciples surrounded him, he got up and walked back into the town (verse 20). I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to go back into town. Barnabas and Paul left for Derbe the next day.
I want to be brave enough to speak for Jesus more. If people do not listen, I do not have to be offended. I just need to move on to the next opportunity to tell of His love.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for all the times I have not spoken about your son Jesus when I should have spoken up. Help me to be willing to testify more. Jesus has done much for me. And, Father, help me not to worry about the consequences when I do testify about Jesus and his love for me. The consequences are in your mighty hands. Amen.
CC: K Carswell 2022
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, Copyright 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by Permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible, Holman CSB and HCSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.