Witnessing with Boldness
Paul and Barnabas are in the city of Lystra giving the gospel. We see Paul’s boldness in his witness for Christ and his humility. There is no mention of a synagogue in the city so most likely, he is preaching to a crowd of people gathered in the marketplace or town square. As Paul begins to speak, he looks upon a man that has been crippled from birth–– “perceiving that he had faith to be healed.” Paul commands the man to stand up and immediately the man leaps up and walks.
When this miracle took place, the men of the city cried out in Lycaonian, “The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men!” According to tradition or folklore, the gods Zeus and Hermes visited Lystra incognito. They asked for food and lodging but everyone turned them away except one old man and his wife. This so displeased the gods that they took vengeance upon the people of the city, drowning them by a great flood. The couple that took them in was spared this plight. Their humble home was made into a temple where they served as a priest and priestess. The people of Lystra believed Barnabas to be Zeus, Jupiter, and Paul to be Hermes, Mercury.
Paul and Barnabas didn’t become proud or desire the praise of men; but cried out to the people, “stop this ritual we are men as you are.” They preached the gospel to them telling them of the Creator of heaven and earth. After restraining the crowd from offering sacrifices for them, some Jews from Antioch and Iconium came to Lystra persuading the crowd to stone Paul. One minute they were desiring to sacrifice oxen for Paul and Barnabas and then were plotting to stone Paul. They dragged him outside of the city, leaving him for dead. Paul survived the stoning and continued to the city of Derbe, to preach the Good News. He believed that proclaiming Christ was his sole purpose for living.
Lord, may I boldly give the gospel of Christ.