Acts 14

Acts 14

Acts 14 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

When Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra speaking to the people, they saw a lame man who gazed intently at them as they spoke. Prompted by the Spirit, Paul asked the lame man to stand to his feet. Miraculously, he stood up and began walking. The people were so amazed that they immediately considered Paul and Barnabas to be gods. They thought Paul was Hermes and Barnabas was Zeus! There was a reason for this.

In Roman mythology, the poet Ovid wrote a story in which Zeus and Hermes disguised themselves as humans who needed lodging. After they were denied entry from one thousand different homes, they finally found rest with an elderly couple. As a reward for accepting them, the gods turned the couples’ cottage into a vast temple with a golden roof and marble columns. Then, they destroyed the houses of all those people who turned them away.

After witnessing the healing of the lame man, the people may have immediately thought of this story. They didn’t want to be punished for being rude, so they quickly began serving Paul and Barnabas. The point of the matter is that people came with preconceived ideas. Seeing a miracle was not enough. In fact, in this case, seeing a miracle actually provided an extra hurdle for the Gospel to move forward.

Miraculous signs and wonders which are not accompanied by an explanation of the Gospel message will not provide saving faith. Paul and Barnabas had to help the people understand who they were and ultimately who Jesus was. Although God provided a sign to get the conversation going, there was still the responsibility of witnessing to the individual.

Many today wrestle with similar struggles. We come with preconceived ideas. There are moments when others witness God moving but attribute it to coincidence or to a pseudo-spiritual encounter. This is why Jesus gave us the command to make disciples of all nations. There is something deeply personal about the Gospel that can only take place within the context of a relationship.

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