In Acts 14:8-20 Paul and Barnabas travel to Lystra where they meet a man who had been lame from birth, never walked before. The lame man was listening intently to Paul preach the message of the gospel and Paul fixed his gaze on the man and saw the man had faith to be healed. So Paul looks at him and says loudly “Stand upright on your feet!” (verse 10) Guest what happened? The man leaped up and began to walk. He went from never walking before to Michael Jordan in one swoop. The power of God was falling down every where Paul and Barnabas went and when the people saw this man leap they started calling Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes because he was the chief speaker. So typical of earth dwellers to take something Almighty God did and explain it out to be something they can understand. These people had many Gods and in their explanation of the power of God they thought that Paul and Barnabas were some of their God’s come to life in men. Here is where Paul and Barnabas could have taken this moment to get these people to believe in them and not in God. I am always amazed at what power and prestige can do to a man of God who is not aware of where his power comes from. I have seen and heard of well known pastors who saw great growth in their churches and believe it is because they are better or different than others that their church flourished. I have seen them take the credit for it when people started saying how great a pastor they are and how they have led their church to great heights. This is very dangerous. I know of a pastor who had made some good moves to get his church into a place of growth and his family was treated like royalty, all the way to his grandchildren. When his grandchildren had a birthday the gifts given to them were way beyond reason for what should have been given. Why? Because he allowed it to happen. Do you know what Paul and Barnabas did when the priest of Zeus brought oxen and garlands to offer sacrifices with the crowds? Here is what Paul said in verse 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.” Paul goes on to give them a history lesson in how God has provided from the beginning for every need and took it as an opportunity to lift up the Lord. True humility, true worship of the Living God by a man on a mission. Paul was a good man.
Guess what happened next? Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won over the crowds and they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city because they thought he was dead. Get the picture. When someone dies they take them to a place where the bodies can decompose, outside the city. They have dragged a supposedly dead Paul out of the city and the disciples are all standing around the body, and Paul stands up, alive! So Paul gets Barnabas and they go away to the next city, Derbe. Paul was a good man and a stoning could not keep him down. Why? Because God had more plans for him and his heart was right and so God helped him live, even after being stoned. God’s power was not only for Paul to use with people all along the way, but God’s power enabled him to keep going after being stoned and thought dead. You cannot keep a good man down when God says “get back up.” God defies all reasoning when he has a person on mission for him. I heard a preacher say one time “God doesn’t send you on mission and then desert you.” I believe that was a great statement and still believe it today. We can’t trust in the god’s of our imagination, but we can trust in Almighty God. He never fails.