Acts 14:8-18 Paul and Barnabas Face Idolatry at Lystra

Paul and Barnabas had been preaching the gospel in Iconium, a city in the Roman province of Lycaonia where many believed and were born again of faith in the risen Christ. However, the enemy continued to battle the missionaries through persecution by both Jews and Gentiles leaders, who plotted to stone Paul and Barnabas. When they heard this, they left Iconium and journeyed to Lystra where they continued their mission to share the truth about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

“8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.” (Acts 14:8-10)

The apostles and anointed missionaries used miracles to lead seekers to Christ and empower their message about the risen King. In Lystra, after he preached the gospel, Paul healed a cripple man who had been invalid since birth.

“11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men! 12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.” (Acts 14:11-12)

Since the people of Lystra were heathen, people who believed in many gods, when they witnessed the miraculous healing, those present attempted to deify Paul and Barnabas, claiming they were gods.

“13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.” (Acts 14:13-16)

In Lystra, there was a temple of Zeus located by the gates of the city. Its priest prepared for a sacrifice in honor of the gods who had performed the miraculous healing. But, when Paul and Barnabas heard of this, they displayed their discontentment by tearing their clothes, crying and rebuking the heathen, revealing their gift was one brought on by the only one true God, Yahweh, the God if Israel and creator of all men.

“17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.” (Acts 14:17-18)

To ensure and confirm His deity, God made certain to leave countless signs among His creation, from the dawn of time until this day.

After they had exposed themselves as mere human beings under the authority of the only true God, Paul and Barnabas were able to diffuse the situation and continue their mission to lead people to Christ in Lystra and beyond. Let’s pray!

Father God;
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.

Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.

God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.

May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.

We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.

Praise God,
Amen!

This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre
Email: danielstpierre@thrivethroughchrist.com

Posted in Bible Studies.

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