Week of July 8 - Day 2

Day 2 Read: Acts 14:8-18

Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Reflect: According to verse 9, why was the crippled man healed? What was the result of Paul’s healing miracle? How did the people respond? Why did the missionaries tear their robes when the people were intent on sacrificing to them (v. 14)? What does that indicate about their character and their priorities? What did Paul emphasize in the speech that followed (vv. 15-17)? What truths about God are we reminded of in this passage?

Consider: The response of the Lycaonian folk was one of pagan credulity. Because the people spoke in their native language, Paul and Barnabas could not understand what they were saying. Attributing deity to Barnabas and Paul probably can be traced to a legend about Zeus and Hermes visiting an aged Lystrian couple named Philemon and Baucis, who were abundantly rewarded for their hospitality.[1]

Respond: Based on these verses, what can we conclude religious life was like in Lystra? How is it similar to or different than our community? What dangers do we face when people praise us for our efforts in serving Christ? When might our motives for serving Him be wrong?

 

[1] Stanley D. Toussaint, “Acts,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 391.