Friday 26 May 2017

Bible Book:

“And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said in a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And the man sprang up and began to walk.” (vv. 9b-10)

Acts 14:8-20 Friday 26 May 2017

Psalm: Psalm 12


In this passage, Paul and Barnabas are in Lystra, a place wherepagan practices were common. (Lystra is in central Anatolia,present-day Turkey.) After Paul had healed a lame person there, heand Barnabas were treated as if they were gods. As much as theyemphasised that they were merely mortal, the people of Lystracontinued to think of them as gods. This was, in part, because ofthe history of Lystra where there was a legend that the Zeus andHermes had come incognito to visit the town and none would givethem hospitality except two old peasants. The whole population,except the two peasants, were wiped out. So the population ofLystra was probably eager that no such thing should happen to themagain.

This passage shows how Paul and Barnabas approached a communityof people with no background in Judaism, no point of reference fora monotheistic faith. Firstly they were forthright in almostcommanding the lame man to stand up and walk - their authority wasclearly displayed for all to see (verse 10). And the man respondedimmediately. Secondly, Paul started from the people's knowledge andappreciation of the working of nature - rain and sun, seedtime andharvest (verse 17).

To Ponder

  • Paul and Barnabas, although in a challenging environment, spokewith authority to the lame man. How diffident as you in witnessingto people with no background in the faith? What steps make you maketo rectify this?
  • Paul and Barnabas used nature as his starting point in seekingto lead the people of Lystra to God. Have modern western people solost their awe of the natural world that this is no longer ahelpful starting point for evangelism? How can we rekindle this aweof the natural world? Or, alternatively, what might be anappropriate starting point in order to connect with people?
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