Worshiped One Day, Persecuted The Next

When the people saw what God had done through Paul, they assumed that Paul had done this miracle himself (267).  So they all started shouting, “Our gods have come to us in the form of men!” They began calling Barnabas by the name of their false god Zeus.  And they called Paul by the name of their false god Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.

The local priest of these false gods brought bulls & flowers to the city gate, for he & the people wanted to offer sacrifices to Paul & Barnabas, whom they all supposed to be their false gods in human form.

When Barnabas & Paul realized what they were about to do, the Holy Spirit prompted them to address the crowd: “Why are you doing this? We ourselves are only human, like you.

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“We are here to announce the good news of Jesus.  He wants you to turn away from these false gods.  Turn to the true & living God – the one who made heaven, earth, the seas & all that is in them.

“In the past, God allowed all people to go their own way. But he has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does.  He is the one who gives you rain from heaven & crops at the right times; he is the one who gives you food & fills your hearts with happiness.”

Despite their strong appeals, the two witnesses could barely keep the crowd from offering sacrifices to them!

Later, some unbelieving Jews came to Lystra from Turkish Antioch & from Iconium.  Eventually, they won many from the crowds over to their side.

They actually incited some of them to stone Paul; then they dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead.

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But when the believers gathered around him, Paul was able to get up & go back into the town!

 

(267) Acts 14:11-19a