We read in Acts 14: 8-20 how Paul and Barnabas are in Lystra sharing the Good News of Jesus. In a scene reminiscent of Jesus healing the cripple lowered through the ceiling by his friends to Jesus, we see Paul recognize a man that has never walked as is his feet were crippled from birth. Paul tells the man to, “stand upright on your feet,” and he does.
In response the people that witnessed this miraculous healing begin thinking Paul and Barnabas are Gods in the flesh and calling the two of them Zeus and Hermes. Paul and Barnabas, seeing how the crowd has over reacted and is giving Paul and Barnabas credit for what God had done. The two of them tear their clothes and run around the crowd trying to convince the crowd they were just men like them, they barely restrained the crowds.
Shortly thereafter we read about some Jews from Antioch and Iconium that arrived in Lystra and begin persuading the crowd. Paul is grabbed, stoned to the point of death, and chucked physically out of the city, a dead man. The local disciples gathered around Paul’s body, at which point he rose up and reentered the city, leaving the next day for Derbe with Barnabas.
This is the life of the faithful servant. When doing the Lord’s will, it is not so challenging to find a willing ear, but the listeners invariably miss the point and go off the deep end and others will come in and corrupt what is being faithfully done. If Paul can be so misunderstood, is it any surprise our best efforts also go awry?
Take heart faithful Christian. The results are in God’s hands. all that is in our hands is the telling.