In Acts 14, Paul healed a man who had been crippled all his life. The people of Lycaonia were amazed. Wow, they must be gods! Let’s sacrifice to them.
And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercury, because he was the chief speaker.
Act 14:13 And the priest of Jupiter whose temple was before the city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the multitudes. (vv 12-13)
Of course, that was unthinkable to Paul and Barnabus, and they begged the people to realize that they were only men like themselves.
We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good tidings, that ye should turn from these vain things unto a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is: scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. (vv 18-19)
Wait a minute—what??? These people are bent on worshipping Paul because he healed a man, and then suddenly, in the next sentence, they decide instead to stone him?? How can that be? How incredibly fickle and wavering humans can be!
But more than that, it shows how very much we want our own way. These people had created a fiction that appealed to them—that Paul and Barnabus were gods—and they were eager to worship these gods on their own terms. But when their “gods” would not accept the worship themselves, instead pointing to the true God, the people were easily convinced to turn against them altogether.
Those people of Lycaonia were rigid in their mindset of what a god must be. A god who couldn’t be seen? Impossible! So what about this man who heals, yet won’t accept worship? Get rid of him!!
It is so easy for us to believe that our way is the only way, and that anything outside of our experience must be completely wrong. How egotistic to believe that we have all the answers! How easy it is to discount something that doesn’t fit into our mold. And if that thing shows obvious power, do we react the same way those people did? In our fear, do we try to obliterate it?Lord, open my eyes to You, to Your ways. Free me from my old ways of understanding, and let me see the One who is the true way.