Never Be Ashamed
While they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed. So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!” They decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. Now the temple of Zeus was located just outside the town. So the priest of the temple and the crowd brought bulls and wreaths of flowers to the town gates, and they prepared to offer sacrifices to the apostles. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting, “Friends, 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. In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, 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.” But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them. 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. But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe. (Acts of the Apostles 14:8-20 NLT)
In Lystra, Paul and Barnabas encountered a crippled man who was listening to their preaching. There were, likely, other infirmities in the crowd but this man's faith was genuine. Paul discerned this and spoke to him to rise. He stood for the very first time in his life and began to walk. The people in the crowd were amazed and began calling Barnabas Zeus(the king of greek gods) and Paul Hermes(Zeus's son and the messenger god). They were preparing sacrifices to them when Paul and Barnabas, without hesitation, tore their garments in humility to God and disgust of the situation, shouted to them to stop. They called these people friends. Paul and Barnabas were trying in a loving way, to tell them that their pagan practices were worthless and that they, themselves, were mere mortals. They proclaimed that there was only one God, not many gods, who manifested Himself to the world in the human person of Jesus Christ. They explained that the Creator is the one who sends the rain and gives us crops to harvest. This didn't seem to faze the crowd. They proceeded to fulfill their intentions. Although Paul and Barnabas had clearly stood for the truth, the people were yet spiritually blind and deaf. Some of the Jews from Antioch of Pisidia and Iconium had apparently followed Paul and Barnabas and were intent on stopping the preaching of Jesus. They stirred up the crowd in such a way that they became violent and stoned Paul, dragged him out of the town, and left him to die. The believers among the people gathered around Paul, perhaps in prayer, wondering if he would die. As they stood there, he rose from the ground to his feet. It is very possible that Paul was at the point of death or had died and that God supernaturally healed him or raised him from the dead. Most people died from stoning. What happened next is literally astounding! He went right back into the city. Unashamed, and undeterred, Paul keeps his focus and looks the enemy in the eye. He knows that God is with Him and that there is nothing that any man could do to him that God was not greater than. It is interesting that nothing was done to Barnabas. I personally believe that Satan was intent on killing Paul. Jesus had told Paul (Saul) in Acts chapter 9 that he must suffer many things for His name. Barnabas was a fine Christian man, no doubt. Satan knew, however, the anointing on Paul's life and, thus, wanted to kill him. Satan wants to kill us all. In John's gospel the scriptures say "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 KJV). May we, too, stand bold and faithful for our Lord. Let's never be ashamed of the name of Jesus. He is with us!!!
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Rev. Curtis Norris