Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Acts 14:8-13

Summary retelling of Acts 14:8-13

When Paul and Barnabas get to Lystra, they see a man who had been crippled from birth.  He listened to Paul.  When Paul looked at him, God revealed to Paul that he had the faith to be made well.  Paul commands the man to rise up and he does!  When the crowds see what happened, they begin to shout that the gods themselves had come to earth to dwell among the people.  They called Barnabas Zeus and they called Paul Hermes.  Even the priests of the temple of Zeus wanted to bring out animals and offer up sacrifices.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
This is a pretty neat story.  I personally find all the healing stories pretty cool because these kinds of stories don’t get told all that often these days.  It’s really cool that this man who had never known what it was to walk got the chance to be able to get up and walk.  Sometimes it is really good to just sit back and revel in how neat God’s power really is.  God can do some amazing things in our life if we are open to it.

What do you think about this healing story?

Second Thought:
We do need to be careful, though.  If we read the passage without paying attention, we might get the idea that the man is healed because he had enough faith.  Unfortunately, that isn’t really what the Bible says.  The Bible literally says he had faith to be healed.  In fact, literally the Bible doesn’t even say healed.  Literally the Bible says that he had faith to be saved.  Now we get at the real heart of the issue.  The crippled man didn’t have faith to be healed … he had faith to be saved.  He had a living breathing presence of Jesus Christ within him.  And notice the tense of the verb.  He didn’t save himself.  He had the faith to be saved.  Someone else (read: Jesus) saved him.  This passage isn’t about us having “enough” inside of us that God can use.  This passage is actually about realizing that if we have salvation within us because Christ has saved us, God can work in us.

Why is it important to see this as God saving this man instead of this man having enough faith to be healed?

Third Thought:
Mistaken identity.  You have to love it.  Paul is just following the Lord’s will and the next thing he knows he is being called by the name of a god in which he doesn’t believe.  And to make it worse, Barnabas is being called the name of the chief god in a pantheon that he doesn’t believe in!  We’ll deal with how they get out of the mistaken identity tomorrow.  But for today, we need to realize that even when we do the right thing people around us are going to misinterpret what we are doing.

Have you ever tried to do the right thing and promote God only to see that people are getting the wrong idea?  What can we do to try and prevent that from happening very often?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 14:14-18
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