The Apostle Paul saw a crippled man and realized he had faith to be healed. So he told the man to stand up and he did. The people reacted positively to this miracle from God. But it didn’t last very long.
So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!” Acts 14:10-11
The people who witnessed the healing of this crippled man declared Paul and Barnabas gods. They not only declared it but they also went into action.
The priest of the temple (of Zeus) and the crowd brought bulls and wreaths of flowers to the town gates, and they prepared to offer sacrifices to the apostles. Acts 14:13
Paul, however, would have nothing to do with what they were planning.
Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them.” Acts 14:15
Paul understood the consequences of taking glory due to the Lord. Chapter 12 records what happened when Herod accepted worship as a god.
Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died. Acts 12:23
How the World Turns
The people in Lystra were adamant about following through with treating these two missionaries like gods. It didn’t matter what Paul said to them.
But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them. Acts 14:18
It didn’t take long for the tide to turn. The very people who recognized Paul as a god stoned him and left him for dead.
Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. Acts 14:19
When the secular world is involved, they may love you or hate you. Who knows how they will react or treat you. I don’t think you’ll need to worry about getting stoned to death though.
A Miracle from God Is an Attention Getter
I like to witness miracles as much as the next person. But the sensationalism of them quickly wears off. People reacted to this miracle in Acts with excitement. Then just as quickly forgot about it.
A miracle is an attention-getter, but it will not turn anyone’s heart to God. There is only one thing that can do that. Paul emphasized it to the Corinthians.
For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
It’s not a bad thing to ask the Lord to use you in the gift of miracles. But doing the work of an evangelist should rate higher on your priority list.
So share Christ and Him crucified. And if you are used in a gift based around a miracle, give God the glory. And rejoice with the person the Lord blessed.
Lord, thank you that you are greater than any opposition that might come up against us. You are our rock and our shield. Use us to bring unsaved people into your Kingdom.
Read the entire story in Acts 14.
Check out another a related post I have written called Do You Need A Miracle?
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