Wow! Worshipped as a god and stoned as a heretic in the same city! Talk about a roller-coaster. Paul and Barnabas were in the town of Lystra, and God used them to heal a crippled man. That had to be awesome. As you can imagine, they quickly got the townspeople’s attention, but the people weren’t really paying that much attention. Rather than listening to what Paul was saying about the source of the healing, they immediately attributed it to their own gods, Zeus and Hermes. This tendency to give other people credit for the blessings that God gives is still with us today. This episode in Paul’s life teaches us that we have to be prepared to interact with people who will readily enjoy the blessings that God gives but will fail to understand the true Source of those blessings. We are sent to point people to the true Source of blessing.
But, that wasn’t the only challenge that Lystra had to offer. The same crowd that had been ready to worship Paul before got stirred up by some of his opponents to the point that they dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death. Or so they thought. He must have been pretty badly hurt if they thought that he was dead. When he came to, he may have remembered what Ananias had told him years before in Damascus: “Show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” (Acts 9.16) Do we realize that the call to follow Jesus isn’t free from pain and suffering? Maybe we need to ask the Lord to prepare us the same way that He prepared Paul. Lord show me how much I must suffer for Your sake, and then show me that You are worth so much more than my pain.