Happy Thursday! Yesterday, we read about Paul and Barnabas sharing the Good News in Lystra. The people were amazed by the healing of the crippled man, but they didn’t understand by what power the man had been healed by. Instead of them understanding the Good News and believing, the people of Lystra believed Paul and Barnabas were gods and tried to worship Paul and Barnabas just as they (the people in Lystra) worshipped their Greek gods. Join me today as we read Paul’s and Barnabas’ response.
Bible verses – Acts 14:14-20
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, 15 “Friends,[b] why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, 17 but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts.” 18 But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them.
19 Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. 20 But as the believers[c] gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.”
- Paul and Barnabas knew better than to take credit for what God had done.
- Paul and Barnabas quickly tried to explain and give God the credit.
- The people’s minds and hearts who worshipped Paul and Barnabas as gods would not allow their hearts to change or believe.
- Yet, believers gathered around Paul (I’m sure they prayed and cared for him) and Paul got up from a near death experience.
Paul and Barnabas were in the perfect will of God. They shared the Good News, a man was healed, others in Lystra didn’t fully comprehend, but in the very last paragraph it read, “but, as the believers gathered around him”. This verse shows us that even though Paul was viciously beaten for sharing the Good News, that his purpose and mission to Lystra was not in vain – believers were there.
Today’s verses remind me of the parable of the sower in Matthew 13 (if you have a chance read verses 1-23), “18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.” This is exactly what happened to those who worshipped Paul and Barnabas as gods, then took part in nearly stoning Paul to death. But, look at God, God preserved Paul’s life and Paul got up and went back to the city.
- Give God the credit and praise He deserves
- Ministry is not easy
- Don’t be discouraged – when you get knocked down because of your faith, get back up again.
- You never know who will believe – keep scattering seeds, because some seeds are bound to fall on good soil, take root, and produce a harvest that multiples.
Father God thank you for opening our hearts and minds to receive the message of Good News. Lord, we could have easily been like those who heard and turned away – for some of us we have in the past, but you turned us around. It was only by your grace – thank you Lord. Lord, continue to work in us and give us boldness to share the Good News. Lord, may our lives and love for you be a good witness of your power working within us. Lord, we don’t want to leave one thing on the table. Strengthen our faith and our dependence on you. Help us to keep our eyes 👀 fixed on you. Lord, continue Your healing work within us – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Lord, touch those who are going in for medical procedures, those who are having surgeries this week, and those waiting for medical reports – be with them, their family members, the doctors, and the nurses who are caring for them. In Jesus name, amen.
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