Acts 14 English Standard Version (ESV)
Paul and Barnabas at Lystra
8 Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked.9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking.11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.
Paul Stoned at Lystra
19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria
24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.
- There was a legend in Lystra that Zeus and Hermes once visited an elderly couple who lived there. It’s likely that this legend stimulated the wild excitement at Lystra when Barnabas and Paul healed a cripple there. The gods Zeus and Hermes had returned! The enthusiastic populace was determined to do them honour. They were ready to worship Paul and Barnabas as gods.
- When the two failed to meet the crowd’s expectations, as the crowd realized that Paul and Barnabas were only messengers of the one true God and not gods themselves, the mob became hostile, and were easily moved to stone Paul.
- Don’t be surprised when some who acclaim you one moment are ready to stone you the next.
- If Satan cannot derail Christian witness with persecution, he will try praise. Too much persecution has destroyed many preachers, and too much praise has ruined many others. One of the problems with miracles is that they often draw more attention to the miracle worker than to God.
- Consider the qualities you see in Paul and Barnabas that made them effective in their ministry. Which of these qualities do you want God to develop in you to make you more effective in communicating the gospel?
Prayer & Journaling:
Pray that God would continue to develop strong gifts in you for ministry. Pray that as a church, we would use our gifts to serve God and one another.