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Acts 14:8-20

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Acts 14:8–20 HCSB
8 In Lystra a man without strength in his feet, lame from birth, and who had never walked, sat 9 and heard Paul speaking. After observing him closely and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 Paul said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet!” And he jumped up and started to walk around. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the form of men!” 12 And they started to call Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the main speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the town, brought oxen and garlands to the gates. He, with the crowds, intended to offer sacrifice. 14 The apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their robes when they heard this and rushed into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Men! Why are you doing these things? We are men also, with the same nature as you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In past generations He allowed all the nations to go their own way, 17 although He did not leave Himself without a witness, since He did what is good by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons and satisfying your hearts with food and happiness.” 18 Even though they said these things, they barely stopped the crowds from sacrificing to them. 19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they had won over the crowds and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. 20 After the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

I. Saved and Healed

(HCSB) 8  In Lystra a man without strength in his feet, lame from birth, and who had never walked, sat 9  and heard Paul speaking. After observing him closely and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10  Paul said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet!” And he jumped up and started to walk around.

Both Peter and Paul healed men who were lame from birth (). Had their lameness been caused by disease or accident, the cure might have been attributed to a sudden change in their health. As it was, the cure was obviously miraculous.

The word translated “speak” in means ordinary conversation, though it can refer to formal speaking. It is likely that Paul was simply conversing with some of the citizens in the marketplace, telling them about Jesus, and the lame man overheard what he said. The Word produced faith () and faith brought healing.

The condition of the cripple. "There sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked" (). This was a severe case.

First, the disability in the condition. "Impotent in his feet... a cripple." This man had absolutely no strength to walk.

Second, the duration in the condition. "From his mother's womb... never had walked." This man had never walked in his life. He was born a cripple and remained a cripple.

The concern of the cripple. "Heard Paul speak" (). The cripple was concerned about spiritual matters. The cripple had more concerns about life than his being crippled. No one will criticize his concern about his crippled condition, but he did not let that problem keep him from the most important concern of life, namely, his spiritual needs.

II. Superstition and Hindered

(HCSB) 11  When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the form of men!” 12  And they started to call Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the main speaker. 13  Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the town, brought oxen and garlands to the gates. He, with the crowds, intended to offer sacrifice. 14  The apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their robes when they heard this and rushed into the crowd, shouting: 15  “Men! Why are you doing these things? We are men also, with the same nature as you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16  In past generations He allowed all the nations to go their own way, 17  although He did not leave Himself without a witness, since He did what is good by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons and satisfying your hearts with food and happiness.” 18  Even though they said these things, they barely stopped the crowds from sacrificing to them.
Miracles by themselves do not produce either conviction or faith. They must be accompanied by the Word (). This was a superstitious crowd that interpreted events in the light of their own mythology. They identified Barnabas as Jupiter (Zeus), the chief of the gods; and Paul, the speaker, they identified with Mercury (Hermes), the messenger of the gods. Jupiter was the patron deity of the city, so this was a great opportunity for the priest of Jupiter to become very important and lead the people in honoring their god.

Miracles by themselves do not produce either conviction or faith. They must be accompanied by the Word (). This was a superstitious crowd that interpreted events in the light of their own mythology. They identified Barnabas as Jupiter (Zeus), the chief of the gods; and Paul, the speaker, they identified with Mercury (Hermes), the messenger of the gods. Jupiter was the patron deity of the city, so this was a great opportunity for the priest of Jupiter to become very important and lead the people in honoring their god.

How easy it would have been to accept this worship and try to use the honor as a basis for teaching the people the truth, but that is not the way God’s true servants minister (; ). Paul and Barnabas opposed what they were doing and boldly told the people that the gods of Lystra were “vanities.”

Paul’s message was not based on the Old Testament, because this was a pagan Gentile audience. He started with the witness of God in creation (see ). He made it clear that there is but one God who is the living God, the giving God, and the forgiving God. And He has been patient with the sinning nations () and has not judged them for their sins as they deserve.

LIFE APPLICATION
EVIDENCE OF GOD
Responding to the people of Lystra, Paul and Barnabas reminded them that God never leaves himself "without a witness" (14:17). Rain and crops, for example, are evidence of God's goodness. Later, Paul wrote that this evidence in nature leaves people without an excuse for unbelief (). When in doubt about God, look around, and you will see abundant evidence that he not only exists but that he also is at work in your world.

III. Stoned and Hurt

(HCSB) 19  Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they had won over the crowds and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. 20  After the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

III. Stoned and Hurt

The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Thirteen: God Opens the Doors (Acts 13–14)

The crowd quieted down, but when some troublemaking Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, the crowd followed their lead and stoned Paul. One minute, Paul was a god to be worshiped; the next minute, he was a criminal to be slain! Emerson called a mob “a society of bodies voluntarily bereaving themselves of reason.” Often this is true.

The crowd quieted down, but when some troublemaking Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, the crowd followed their lead and stoned Paul. One minute, Paul was a god to be worshiped; the next minute, he was a criminal to be slain! Emerson called a mob “a society of bodies voluntarily bereaving themselves of reason.” Often this is true.

The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Thirteen: God Opens the Doors (Acts 13–14)

There were new believers in Lystra, and this was a crisis situation for them. They were a minority, their leader had been stoned, and their future looked very bleak. But they stood by Paul! It is likely that they joined hearts and prayed for him, and this is one reason God raised him up. Was Paul dead? We are not told. This is the only stoning he ever experienced (2 Cor. 11:25), but from it came glory to God.

There were new believers in Lystra, and this was a crisis situation for them. They were a minority, their leader had been stoned, and their future looked very bleak. But they stood by Paul! It is likely that they joined hearts and prayed for him, and this is one reason God raised him up. Was Paul dead? We are not told. This is the only stoning he ever experienced (), but from it came glory to God.

This is one of the most powerful moments in the whole book. Paul, surely bloody and bruised from the stoning he had just endured, surrounded by believers (maybe some who had just come to faith through his ministry), got up and went back into the city.

Some writers believe that Luke's presentation of this scene sounds and feels like a miracle, but there is nothing in the text that dictates such. Certainly Paul experienced miracles in his life because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. This courageous messenger, who had faithfully preached the Good News and had been hounded for it at every turn, got up, dusted himself off, and went back to work. Others would have quit, but not Paul. The next day he left for the next stop on his missionary journey—the town of Derbe.

Perhaps to be able to explain suffering is the clearest indication of never having suffered. Sin, suffering, and sanctification are not problems of the mind, but facts of life— mysteries that awaken all other mysteries until the heart rests in God. Oswald Chambers
Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them. No man is competent to judge in matters of the kingdom, until first he has been tried; since there are many things to be learned in the depths which we can never know in the heights. Charles H. Spurgeon
Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we shall not truly receive them. No man is competent to judge in matters of the kingdom, until first he has been tried; since there are many things to be learned in the depths which we can never know in the heights. Charles H. Spurgeon
John G. Butler, Analytical Bible Expositor – Acts, (Clinton, Iowa: LBC Publications, 2009), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 157.
Bruce B. Barton et al., Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1999), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: "".
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