People are fickle. Paul and Barnabus were literally being treated like gods. They preached the Gospel, healed the sick, and the crowd loved it…well they did until they didn’t. Paul and Barnabus told the crowd to cut it out. They were just normal guys, like the rest of the crowd. They continued to point back to God not to themselves. Well, somehow the Jewish leaders in the area used that to stir the crowd up and change their mood from deifying Paul to killing him. The next thing that we read is that the crowd stone Paul to what seems to be death and dragged him out of the town. That could not have been pleasant.
The disciples were crushed. Their leader was dead…or was he? Nope! Paul stood up and went back into town preaching and training leaders for the churches in the area. Dr. Luke does not share details, but stoning is not a form of execution that one can easily fake. God healed Paul. There is no telling the amount of damage their stoning would have done to Paul, but Paul rose, went back into town, and carried on as if nothing had transpired! That was a miracle.
Each time I read one of the amazing stories of healing, I am reminded of 2 things. First, God does not promise this journey will be easy, pleasant, or painless. As soldiers in battle, we must expect opposition to take many forms and be in our path. Sometimes we can easily confront it and move on, but other times, it will seem life altering and overwhelming. We cannot see any way to get past it. It is those times when God shows Himself the most amazing. He promises to prepare, protect, and provide for His own. What form that may take is often different than we would hope or expect. When we see God’s handiwork, however, we know without a doubt it was Him all along.
Paul did not gloat or draw attention to himself upon His return. Instead, he and Barnabus simply continued the work of the Gospel. No fanfare, no revenge–simply showing grace and love for the people in the churches that the men helped to establish. As our Lord’s soldiers, we must remember that serving God is simply not about us. Whether we are being courted as Rock stars or stoned as heretics; we must focus on the Lord and His mission for our lives. If we will, He will be glorified, and we will be blessed!
God Bless You
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.
Paul Stoned at Lystra
19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.