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God’s Word for You

Acts 14:8-10 a crippled man walks

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, June 29, 2020

The apostles mistaken for gods in Lystra

8 In Lystra there was a man sitting there who was crippled in his feet. He was lame from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked straight at him, saw that he had faith to be healed, 10 and said in a loud voice, “Stand up on your feet.” And the man jumped up and began to walk.

With no synagogue in which to begin their work, Paul and Barnabas went to the open square in the middle of the town known as the agora or marketplace. This brings us to one of many parallels in the preaching of Peter and Paul that Luke has noticed and that he brings to our attention. When Peter “looked straight at” a crippled man in Jerusalem, he was looking at an unbeliever. Now Paul had entered a thoroughly pagan city without even a single synagogue, and as he “looked straight at” a crippled man in the marketplace, he was looking at a man who had faith to be healed. The parallels and some differences form quite a list, and of course there are probably more that I am unaware of:

The cripple of Jerusalem:

  1, He was met by two apostles (Peter and John)
  2, He was crippled from birth (beyond human help)
  3, He did not ask to be healed
  4, He was carried there to beg
  5, The apostle “looked straight at him”
  6, He is healed completely and instantly (he jumps around)
  7, There is no mention of his faith before, but there is afterward
  8, Many people were amazed by this
  9, The apostles were imprisoned by the Sanhedrin as a result

The cripple of Lystra:

  1, He was met by two apostles (Paul and Barnabas)
  2, He was crippled from birth (beyond human help)
  3, He did not ask to be healed
  4, He is not described as a beggar; he was sitting in the agora
  5, The apostle “looked straight at him”
  6, He is healed completely and instantly (he jumps up)
  7, He has faith even before he is healed
  8, The pagans worshiped the apostles as if they were gods
  9, Paul was stoned and left for dead by the Jews as a result

The main thing to remember in this passage is that the people of the town witnessed the power of the true God. There was an ancient legend about Zeus and Hermes (as we shall see), but this was truly the power of Jesus Christ in their midst. By publishing this account here in Acts, Luke invited the people of Lystra to correct him if he was making it up or exaggerating, even for the sake of the gospel. But there is no scathing letter, no account of a protest ever made by the Lystrians that this never took place. Quite the reverse: the people of Lystra were blessed from this time forward with a powerful memory of what had taken place, and a Christian congregation that even survived the ravings, the lies, and the persecutions brought on by a few mistaken and overly-zealous Jews.

What would happen if a miracle like this one happened in our time? Nobody would believe it except the simple and the kind-hearted, and it would be scoffed about in the news as if it were a crime. It would fall under the same headings as the people who claim to have seen UFOs or the Loch Ness Monster. I think that this one reason why miracles happen far less frequently today than they did in the time of Jesus and his apostles. The devil had not misled the people into disbelieving the obvious as he has today. There are fewer and fewer today who accept miracles as being possible. Even among many Christians, there is lip-service done to the miracles of the past, but they still refuse to believe that the wafer on their tongue is truly the body of Christ by a miracle, or that the sins of an infant are washed away through water and a promise. But these things are true, all the same. Treasure your faith as you walk in Christ’s footsteps. Put your trust in him, and don’t be afraid to close your ears to the ravings of the world.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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