just like us
Acts 14:8-20 (JDV)
Acts 14:8 In Lystra a man was sitting who was without strength in his feet, had never walked, and had been lame from birth.
Acts 14:9 He listened as Paul spoke. After looking directly at him and seeing that he had faith to be rescued,
Acts 14:10 Paul said in a loud voice, “get up on your feet!” And he jumped up and began to walk around.
Acts 14:11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”
Acts 14:12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
Acts 14:13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the town, brought bulls and wreaths to the gates because he intended, with the crowds, to offer sacrifice.
Acts 14:14 The missionaries Barnabas and Paul tore their robes when they heard this and rushed into the crowd, shouting:
Acts 14:15 “People! Why are you doing these things? We are people also, just like you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the sky, the land, the sea, and everything in them.
Acts 14:16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to go their own way,
Acts 14:17 although he did not leave himself without a witness, since he accomplished good by giving you rain from the sky and fruitful periods and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.”
Acts 14:18 In spite of the fact that they said these things, they barely stopped the crowds from sacrificing to them.
Acts 14:19 Some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, figuring he was dead.
Acts 14:20 After the disciples gathered around him, he got up and went into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
just like us
When the inhabitants of Lystra attempted to worship Paul and Barnabas with a sacrifice, the missionaries insisted that they should not do it, because they are just people, not gods. But the people had seen a miracle, and the only category they had for explaining the miracle was that it was the work of a god. They were partially right. Paul’s healing of the lame man was a divine miracle, but it was accomplished through the obedience of a man, just like us.
The Jewish unbelievers followed the missionaries from Antioch and Iconium. They had taken on the vocation of anti-missionaries, and made it their mission to root out the gospel wherever it was being planted. The fact that they could persuade the crowds — who had been ready to sacrifice — to attempt to murder the missionaries instead — shows that they were tapping into a supernatural power as well. Wherever the Lord is at work to heal, the devil will attempt to destroy.
The truth is, we are all just human beings, and there is supernatural power to help us do what we want to do. It is our choice. We can tap into the power of God’s Sacred Breath to give life, or tap into Satan’s hate to destroy it.
Lord, give us the wisdom to choose the right mission, and tap into the right source of power to accomplish it.