Vs 3 So (Paul and Barnabas) remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord …
Vs 4 But the people of the city were divided …
Vs 5 … an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat (Paul and Barnabas) and to stone them, 6 they learned of it and fled to Lystra …
Vs 11 … 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!”
Vs 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “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 …”
Vs 19 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.
Vs 20 The next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 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
Vs 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.
Paul and Barnabas are traveling all over the place spreading the gospel everywhere they go.
They are faced with an extreme range of reactions from their listeners.
The people vary from accepting Paul and Barnabas to rejecting them.
In fact, the people’s response is so erratic that one day they want Paul worshiped, the next day they want Paul executed!
It is a roller coaster of responses from the people …
But Paul remains a level-headed disciple.
Paul goes about his purpose … his mission … spread the gospel … regardless of his own life’s circumstances.
And whatever happens in his own life, he will celebrate what God is doing in and through him.
People are fickle! Very, very fickle! … Am I?
A phrase that leaps out to me today is … “the crowd”.
In verse 11, “the crowd” saw what Paul had done and declared him a god!
By verse 19, “the crowd” stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city supposing he was dead!
And what’s Paul’s response? … “he went on”.
God is at work, and he has a purpose in everything, and He has a mission that He will fulfill!
Will I participate in it? … If yes, then I must go on.
There is no time for wallowing, and pouting, and self-pitying in the Kingdom of God.
As Paul did, there are “souls to be strengthened, and “faith to be encouraged”.
But there is also no time for arrogance, and ego, and self-exaltation in the Kingdom of God.
As Paul said, I am “a man like you, who brings good news that you should turn from vain things to a living God”!
“The crowd” will ride a roller coaster of emotion … sometimes they may love you, other times they may hate you.
They’ll be swayed by what they see (“when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted their voices”) or by what they hear (“having persuaded the crowd, they stoned Paul”).
But the disciple of Jesus remains steady … grounded by the Gospel …. The God News!
There is a Living God … Jesus … and because He is alive … I am alive!
And in the meantime … while I am alive … there will be tribulation … perhaps, even “many tribulations”.
What will I do?
Like Paul, “with the gathered church”, “declare all that God had done with them”, “opening doors of faith”.
Thank You, God, for your Word.
Thank You for the encouragement it is
Help me live steady as Paul,
Not riding the roller coaster of my circumstances with the crowd.
Holy Spirit, strengthen my soul and encourage my faith
In Jesus name