Today's Scripture: Acts 14:8-23
"Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, 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. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed."
Jesus said to Ananias when Paul was first converted, “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” (Acts 9:16). In Lystra, Paul saw a cripple who believed the Gospel. To confirm the power of the Word, Paul told the man to stand up and walk. Immediately, this good work is met with near idolatry from the Greeks and hatred from the Jews. He was stoned and left for dead. It’s not a low point. Christ’s power was manifest by his refusal to give up. St. Paul says, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9). In weakness we suffer, but praise God that his power to save by his Word and Faith rests on his strength and not our own.
“Strengthen me by your Word, O Lord.” Amen.