Daily Word

Healing by the gods | Acts 14:8-13

8 In Lystra a man was sitting whose feet were incapacitated. He had been disabled from his mother’s womb, and had never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke. Paul looked at him intently and saw that he had faith to be [f]made well, 10 and he said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet!” And the man leaped up and began to walk.

11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us!” 12 And they began calling Barnabas, [g]Zeus, and Paul, [h]Hermes, since he was [i]the chief speaker. 13 Moreover, the priest of Zeus, whose temple was [j]just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 

Acts 14:8-13 (NASB) 中文

Perga to Iconium to Lystra

Paul and Barnabas are on the first missionary journey of the church, sent out by the church at Antioch. They’ve been in Perga where he first taught history then switched to preaching Jesus as Messiah using OT proof and gave an altar call. The jealous Jews kicked him out so they went to Iconium where they did ministry, had success, then got kicked out. Now they’re in Lystra.

Visible faith

The first activity of Paul on his missionary journeys is to enter the Synagogue and preach to the Jews. Maybe he did that in Lystra, but the first activity Luke records is this miracle of healing of the lame man. We don’t know how old he was but we know he had never walked. What catches your attention? For me it’s, Paul “saw that he had faith to be made well”. 

Was this a gift of knowledge or discernment from the Holy Spirit that allowed Paul to see the man’s faith? We can only guess. But it wasn’t just the man’s faith. Paul also had to have faith to pronounce the healing and command him to stand up! “That this lame man had faith was made plain by his ready obedience to Paul’s command to stand up.” (Bruce in enduringword.com)

Healing by the gods

This miracle results in a response I don’t think Paul and Barnabs had anticipated. It’s one he will receive on future journeys (Acts 28). The people believe their Greek gods (Zeus and Hermes) have become like men. They come down to visit men and perform miracles as proof. Well, they are partially correct. God did become man in Jesus Christ (John 1:1-2, 14). And it is through Jesus that this miracle was performed.

But the crowds took it too far and even their head priest of Zeus wanted to officially welcome them and worship them. He brought all the fixings for a sacrifice to them. How do Paul and Barnabas respond? We’ll see in the next passage.


  • The gifts of the Spirit I believe are alive and active today. Paul tells us to seek the greater gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31) and to use whatever gifts we have for the benefit of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7). So we’re encouraged as we seek the Lord, to seek the gifts then use them for the body to bring Him glory.
  • Surely no one will ever try to worship us as gods. But consider how we handle praise. Do we soak it in and either outright take credit or inwardly take credit but outwardly give a false picture of humility? Remember who God is…and who we are.
Greek god Hermes. Image from pxfuel.com

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