God’s Love Reaches Lystra

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In my crawl through Acts, I’m still camping in Chapter 14. As always, I’m looking for how God works and how he thinks of things.

In this chapter, Paul and Barnabas get to Lystra. Right off the bat, Paul demonstrates God’s powerful kindness by healing a man who was lame from birth. The people of Lystra think that the apostles must be gods, come down in human form. They set out to worship them. But Paul and Barnabas set them straight.

I’ve learned to look for contrasts in Luke’s story-telling. What’s he contrasting in this story? Most of us probably see him contrasting the fake gods of Olympus with the real God who created everything. That’s definitely there. But I think there’s something else.

A note in the NET Bible alerted me to a contrast between how fake gods leverage FEAR and how the living God operates out of KINDNESS.

Here’s the note: “In this region there was a story of Zeus and Hermes visiting the area (Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.611-725). The locals failed to acknowledge them, so judgment followed. The present crowd was determined not to make the mistake a second time.”

This business of the Lystrans trying to worship Paul and Barnabas as though they were Hermes and Zeus…. It’s out of FEAR. In contrast, everything that Paul does and says in this passage points to God’s KINDNESS.

Read the passage with God’s kindness in mind. Then think about where God’s kindness is highlighted elsewhere in Scripture. Also think about where men oppose God’s kindness. Sometimes it’s people on “our side.” I think of Jonah, who should have known better. He didn’t want to go to Nineveh because he just knew God would be kind to Israel’s mortal enemies in Assyria (see Jonah, Chapter 4).

Now look at your life with God’s kindness in mind. What does that change? Can you see God’s kindness in your own circumstances? Are there opportunities to reflect God’s kindness in how you interact with others?

#acts14 #acts14v33 #netbible #fakegods #fear #livinggod #kindness #goodnews #jonah4

(background image based on one by “eommina” on Pixabay)

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