Saturday 25 April, 2020

Acts 14:8-20

8 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. 11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them. 19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.

I’m a sucker for Marvel movies. After watching one (think Iron Man, or The Avengers) I always spend a while feeling like I’M a superhero – that I should be out saving the world from the epic forces of evil. That is the power an inspiring hero has, and right now I feel this way about Paul.

In this passage, Paul is a true hero of the faith. We find him preaching in a foreign town, having wisdom to see a crippled man’s faith, demonstrating healing power in causing the man to walk, showing great humility in the face of overwhelming public love and praise, then after all that – enduring an unjust stoning by his enemies – nearly to the point of death!

What does it look like to be a sold-out follower of Jesus? I think Paul gives us some powerful examples here. To always have the gospel on your lips, to live a life of faith, to act humbly, and to trust God no matter the opposition. I pray for myself and for you reading this, that Paul’s powerful example would cause us to question how we’re living, and that we would find the courage and strength to live as Paul lived.

Jesus, thank You that You’re worth all we have to give and more. Thank You for not just telling us how to live, but showing us how – through your own life and the life of your apostles. Help us not to live a hidden Christian life, but like Paul, to be brave and courageous in living sold-out lives for You. Amen.

Written by Ps. Matt Samperi

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