Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"I'm not dead yet" (Acts 14)

Some notes on Acts 14:
  • Very interesting the way that God used signs and wonders to confirm that Paul and Barnabas were authentically from him (14:3)
  • Paul heals a lame man just as Peter did just as Jesus did... pointing to us...
  • The scene of Lystra is very interesting because it is very reminiscent of a story found in Ovid's Metamorphoses where a couple named Baucis and Philemon entertain Zeus and Hermes disguised as humans. Indeed, the region Paul and Barnabas are visiting is not far from Phrygia where this story takes place. I wonder if the first readers of Acts would have made the connection?
Here we are again at Lystra on our trip to Turkey.

  • Notice the shout out to natural revelation:  "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" (14:17). 
  • This by the way is the city where Timothy was from... Paul will pick him up next time through.
  • Paul gets stoned at Lystra, not long after they tried to sacrifice to him as a god... fickle crowd. He's just lying there and everyone is thinking he's dead. Then he just gets up and walks back into the city.
  • Acts 14:22 has always stood out to me: "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."
  • They appoint elders in every city (14:23).  Very significant window into the organization and leadership of the earliest churches. These elders had placed their faith in the Lord... perhaps a shout out to Pauline theology.

1 comment:

Susan Moore said...

Two thoughts. First, in regards to 14:8-10: Is it possible for Christians who deny that they have the power to heal to, themselves, accept God’s eternal power and repent, then submit to His authority and ask and be miraculously healed? In my experience with Christians who won’t attend a local church, the two beliefs seem to be directly related. Have you been on the bus, yet? :-)
Second, natural revelation is where our understanding begins. When we realize that there is a divine being with eternal power who created the entire universe, let alone created it by speaking it into existence, we become aware of our fragility, mortality and dependence on Him. That awareness breeds the ‘fear of God’; the beginning of wisdom. The wisdom is our sense that we need to learn more about Him so, if for no other reason, to stay on His good side, or we spend our time on earth rebelling against Him and hiding. “God made you, God loves you, and God wants to be with you forever…” are those not the concepts we first teach children?
The Jews from Antioch and Iconium, I presume, persuaded that crowd to believe that Paul, at least, was an evil god or demon possessed? I would have loved to have seen the mob’s response when he appeared to have resurrected from the dead and walked back in among their midst. What would they have thought, then? Perhaps that was a good opportunity to begin speaking about specific revelation and the resurrected Christ!