Acts 13:14-18

Acts 13:14-18

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, He let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet He has not left Himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
Acts 13:14-18

This is a wonderful and crazy account of Paul’s and Barnabas’ time first in Ionium then in Lystra – where our verses occur – before moving on to Derbe. After winning a large number of disciples in Derbe, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidia Antioch. After that they preached the word in Perga, then went down to Attalia where they sailed back to Antioch where they stayed for a long time with other disciples.

Clearly this is a busy chapter, annotating the travels of Paul and Barnabas, but the crazy story takes place in their first visit to Lystra. It was there Paul healed a man who was lame and had never walked from birth. This man heard Paul speaking and believed. Paul

9 looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
Acts 13:9-10

Then the craziness began!

11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.
Acts 13:11-12

Here they were bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ and when they healed someone the people reacted as if they were gods in human form. Of course they were not and it was 3 the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. Nonetheless, it got so bad

13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
Acts 13:13

It is difficult to imagine such a scene, where two men perform miracles to bring the people – Jews and Gentiles alike – to the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for their sins. Then instead of understanding the message, they initially believe and treat them as gods. Understandably Paul and Barnabas were upset, horribly upset at this and that’s where our verses for today come in

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, He let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet He has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
Acts 13:14-18

Can you picture the chaos of this. They are rushing into a crowd saying, “Stop! Stop! Stop! We are not Gods, but we are bringing you a message of good news from the living God. Listen, please listen, He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” I don’t know, but maybe it was this reference to their hearts that cause them to relent and keep from making sacrifices to them. After all they would know the importance of rain and crops in season if there was to be food which would gladden almost any heart of the time as a good harvest was not something that happened every year.

Even today it is not, but we act as if the food supply is guaranteed for us and seldom are our hearts filled with joy due to having plenty of food. We simply take food and plentiful food for granted. We do not see or understand it as a blessing. You may ask God’s blessing on your food when you sit down to eat a meal, but do you really understand just having food and plenty of it is a blessing to begin with from God. Their hearts were filled with joy at the thought of it. Many of us have freezers in our homes, but do we give thanks to God who makes it possible for us to set aside food for our future? I have not. But now, I think every trip from the grocery store with bags filled with food for the next week or more I will begin to thank God for the blessing of a plentiful food supply. I don’t know if my heart will be filled with joy, but hopefully at least thankfulness.

It’s Friday, the day after our Thanksgiving holiday when many (most) of us had plenty and then some at our various Thanksgiving meals. I’m sure most gave thanks for that particular meal, but much more is to be considered and be thankful for. Perhaps you may think on this today and even when you remember to Go to Church this weekend. Consider bringing up this blessing we take for granted for corporate prayer and thankfulness.

Oh, by the way, after Paul and Barnabas stopped the crowd from sacrificing to them

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.

Incredible, Paul refuses to take credit for the miracle and he ended up being stoned and left for dead after they dragged him outside the city! But Paul was not done! After some disciples gathered around him, what did Paul do but get up and go right back into the city! We are not told what he did in the city that night, but the next day he and Barnabas continued on to Derbe. Truly a crazy adventure story that just happens to be true.

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Acts 13:20-22