Acts 14:8-20; The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 177-185
We serve God when we help others.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and . . . you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
Denise and Cameron were new to the country. Everyone looked so different, and many of them spoke a different language. It was a strange experience, but they shared their toys and helped others. Pretty soon they made friends, but they also had some kids who did not like them. Just like Denise and Cameron, Paul and Barnabas traveled to a new place where they didn’t know anyone. They traveled to share the good news of Jesus’ love. Here’s the story of what happened next.
Paul and Barnabas stopped to rest by the roadside. They looked at the city before them. “Most of the people of Lystra don’t know anything at all about the God of heaven,” Paul sighed.
“Not for long!” Barnabas replied with a smile.
The two apostles may have prayed. “Show us, Lord, how to let the people of Lystra know the good news about Jesus!”
They walked on and soon entered the city. The two friends began to talk to people. Soon several of the townspeople had gathered to listen. As he spoke, Paul noticed a man who had never been able to walk. Paul may have silently prayed, “He believes in You, Jesus! You can make him well!” Then Paul said to the man, “Stand up on your feet.” And the man jumped up and walked!
“Amazing! Unbelievable!” people began to shout. “How can this be?”
Someone in the crowd shouted, “The gods have come down to visit us!” Others agreed. They believed that their gods sometimes came to help them in miraculous ways. After seeing the lame man healed, they were sure that Paul and Barnabas were gods, too.
The people became so excited. They shouted, “Let’s have a celebration! We can offer sacrifices to these gods and give them gifts!”
Paul and Barnabas moved among the people. “No, no,” they said. “You don’t understand! We’re people just like you! We’ve come to tell you the good news about the real God, the true, LIVING God! He is the one who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.” But the people were determined to worship Paul and Barnabas.
About that time, some Jewish leaders heard about the excitement. They came to see it for themselves. These men wanted to stop the work of Paul and Barnabas. They saw that the townspeople were upset because Paul and Barnabas had stopped their celebration. So it wasn’t hard to make them turn against God’s men!
Very quickly, the same people who had wanted to worship the apostles now wanted to kill them! In fact, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. The Christian believers of Lystra sadly gathered around Paul. He was bruised and bleeding, but he got up! They helped him back to the city where they could care for him. But Paul and Barnabas decided to leave that place. “We will travel to Derbe for a little while. But we will come back soon to encourage you and help you!”
Paul and Barnabas were willing to show God’s love to others. Their words and kind actions led others to know Jesus. How about you? How can your actions say “Jesus loves you” to someone this week?