He Rose Up
Acts 14:14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them. 19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. (NKJV)
The time is about A.D. 45-46. Paul is traveling in Asia Minor, present day Turkey, on his first missionary journey. He is accompanied by Barnabas and other apostles.
The apostles were run out of first Antioch and then Iconium by crowds of Jews and some Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas have now traveled to Lystra to avoid the death threats.
In Lystra, the Lord used Paul to heal a man who had been cripple since birth. Unfortunately, the Gentiles present attributed the miracle to their own gods, idols, and not to Paul’s God. They believed that Barnabas was Zeus and Paul was Hermes, their Greek mythological gods.
Hearing the pronouncements of the crowd, the priest of Zeus burst forth from his temple with oxen and garlands, intending to sacrifice to the “gods”, Paul and Barnabas. The two apostles were horrified and full of sorrow because they were being glorified instead of the Lord. “They tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things” (vv. 14-15a)?
Paul and Barnabas told the crowd that they were just men, like themselves, who were trying to turn the people from their “useless” idols “to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them” (v. 15b).
The apostles explained that in the past that God had left men to their own devices, while all the time showing Himself to them by providing all of their needs (vv. 16-17). Their words stopped the crowd from sacrificing to the two apostles (v. 18).
Then, unfortunately, the Jews from Antioch and Iconium who had been chasing the apostles caught up with them at Lystra (v. 19a). They stirred up the crowd and Paul was stoned until they thought he was dead. Then his lifeless body was dragged out of the city (v. 19b).
Miraculously, “when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up” (v. 20a). Paul then went back into the city and found refuge until he and Barnabas were able to leave for Derbe the next day (v. 20b).
One moment the crowd of Gentiles was worshiping Paul and Barnabas as gods and the next moment they attempted to kill Paul. It is amazing how angry and violent people can get towards things they do not understand. Paul and Barnabas were taking their lives into their hands on this missionary journey.
However, they were not left alone to fend for themselves. God was right there with them protecting them along the way. God still had more work for them to accomplish with their lives.
God also has a plan for each of us. As we make our way through this journey called life we need to be open to God’s plan.
God will show us the way if we stay in tune with Him through prayer, Bible study and fellowship with other believers. We will not leave this earth until we have fulfilled all that He has planned for us.
Online Bible Commentary