At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. 4 The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5 There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. 6 But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, 7 where they continued to preach the gospel.

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.

21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders[a] for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia, 25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.

26 From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, Stand up on your feet! At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
Acts 14:8-10



Notice the amazing way God began to work by the Spirit in this city. Paul and Barnabas had no idea what they were going to do. Different from today, (maybe there is a lesson in this for Churches) they did not form a committee and say, "Well, let's see if we can get the report on the city's population distribution. Then we could divide it into squares and evangelize in a systematic way." The reality is, according to our reading, Barnabas and Paul had no special strategies other than to be there, to be present, and to do what God sent them to do, to preach. So, they walked right into the activity center of the city, the market place and began, trusting the Lord to have prepared the hearts of people to openness to the Gospel. The Bible often talks about, the unseen hand of God, the God who goes ahead of us, to prepare the way for impact.

As Paul and Barnabas proclaimed the gospel did you notice what happened? As Paul was preaching, probably for several days in a row, sitting in the marketplace was a man who had been lame from his birth. He was seemingly well-known throughout the city, likely having been in the same for most of his life. He heard what Paul said, and believed what Paul declared about the power of Jesus. Paul looked at him and by the Holy Spirit’s working saw the faith to believe. Suddenly, unquestionably led of the Spirit, he said to him, Stand up on your feet. And the lame man, though he had never walked in his life, made the effort to obey. He had faith enough to try, and the moment he began to obey, the healing power of God was revealed in him.

I believe there is a message here for all of us. That obedience to God’s call, a single step into God’s invitation, results in the powerful, even miraculous movement of God. I read onetime that “God will never move until you obey. That is the way faith works.” I think of the crossing of the Jordon River in the Old Testament. The River is at flood stage, God has told his people to cross the River, in obedience the Priests carrying the ark of the Covenant, step into the flood stage Jordan River in obedience, and then the water stands up and the people of God cross on dry ground. The outcome of the first step of obedience is a miracle. (Joshua 3 & 4)

In reflection, I believe I see a pattern in my own life, maybe you can relate, there are times when I am longing to see God at work in my life, or in our Church’s life, yet because I keep waiting for God to do something first, I miss out on the miracle and power of what God wants to do. I wonder if not stepping into the water of obedience, I have missed a profound movement of God.

The obedience of Paul and Barnabas, as one commentator put it “cracked the city wide open.” The crowd immediately notice of Paul and Barnabas in their midst. While the crowd struggled to understand what was happening around them, they were correct about one thing, what they were witnessing was God at work through human flesh. That is the way God works.



GOD, like the apostles, help me to trust in a living God who is changing people's hearts and bringing change and deliverence. Help me to rejoice as I, too, see the power of obedience to the Word of God in my own life. Amen.

40 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All