Acts

Acts 14:8-18 Fuller Revelation.

The people in Lystra were more than willing to hear what Paul and Barnabas had to say. Word must have got around of their arrival, because there was a man, who was crippled from birth and could not walk, who somehow made his way to where he must have known Paul would be, because “Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a load voice, “Stand up straight on your feet” (v. 10).” Sadly, when the people saw the man leap up and walked, they interpreted what had happened through the lense of their own perverted worldview, thinking that Paul and Barnabas were the gods of Zeus (Barnabas) and Hermes (Paul) (vv. 11-12). Paul was called Hermes, “because he was the chief speaker,” since it was believed that Hermes spoke for the gods.

Obviously Barnabas and Paul strongly objected to being viewed and worshipped as gods, but they used the behaviour of the Lyconians to explain what set the biblical faith apart from their beliefs (v. 14 Cf. 10:26). They told them that their idols were useless, and directed them to the one Creator of all things (v. 15). Like Israel itself, the Lord had mercy on men for their ignorance, though they had sinned with idols and would continue to, only now more severely, given the revelation they had now received. However, Paul chooses to appeal to the reality of God’s mercy. There have always been abundant witnesses to the creator’s love for the whole of creation, as the Creator (Cf. Ps. 145:16; Rom. 1:19-20). Redemption has always been provided as well, but now the knowledge of that redemption found completion in Christ.

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