Reading: Acts 14
I am a Gentile and unless you were born to Jewish parents, so are you!
We can only imagine the huge cultural shock it must have been to the early Jewish disciples of Jesus to realise His message of mercy, love and salvation was not exclusively for them.
At this point Paul and Barnabas had been sent out, full of the Holy Spirit, to take this message far and wide to all who would listen and believe.
However despite their obvious anointing and the “miraculous signs and wonders” that accompanied their preaching, plots to harm or kill them followed the pair, causing them to quickly leave several cities.
In Lystra the crowd went from trying to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas as they were convinced the must be their “Gods” of Zeus and Hermes, to being persuaded to stone Paul and leave him for dead!
Miracles are amazing – literally. It’s tempting to think that experiencing one will definitely be all that’s needed for someone to believe in God or invite Jesus to be their Saviour.
Sometimes that be might be the case, but to a heart that has become hardened against God, only experiencing the “good news” of the life changing power of Jesus’ death and resurrection is enough.
I love that verse 21 tells us that, despite having been previously savagely beaten there, Paul returns to Lystra to encourage the Christians and to appoint Elders so that the fledgling Church there would become strong, organised and effective.
What a guy!
The local church is the hope of the world.
As disciples of Jesus we need to be part of, planted in and surrounded by the local church. It’s my opinion that Influence Church is one of the best… but I could be biased!
Contributed by Jane Dowding