Paul in Lystra and Derbe
In Lystra there sat a man who had been born crippled; he had never walked.
This man was listening to Paul speak. Paul looked straight at him and saw that the man believed God could heal him.
So he cried out, “Stand up on your feet!” The man jumped up and began walking around.
When the crowds saw what Paul did, they shouted in their own Lycaonian language. They said, “The gods have become like men! They have come down to us!”
And the people began to call Barnabas “Zeus.” They called Paul “Hermes,” because he was the main speaker.
The temple of Zeus was near the city. The priest of this temple brought some bulls and flowers to the city gates. The priest and the people wanted to offer a sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas.
But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, understood what they were about to do, they tore their clothes in anger. Then they ran in among the people and shouted,
“Men, why are you doing these things? We are only men, human beings like you! We are bringing you the Good News. We are telling you to turn away from these worthless things and turn to the true living God. He is the One who made the sky, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.
In the past, God let all the nations do what they wanted.
Yet he did things to prove he is real: He shows kindness to you. He gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times. He gives you food and fills your hearts with joy.”
Even with these words, they were barely able to keep the crowd from offering sacrifices to them.
Teaching guide and Explanation
PAUL & BARNABAS ARE WORSHIPPED
TEXT: Acts 14:8-18
MEMORY VERSE: And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers. (Acts, 13:32).
Our lesson today will take us across the sea to a church in the land of Syria, in the city of Antioch. Here, we find that Christians assembled to worship God a long time ago. We read that the Holy Ghost informs them, as people pray, that He has a task for two certain men in that church. Paul and his friend Barnabas must go to Jesus on a very critical errand.
Many people have never learned the story of Jesus in faraway lands, and Paul and Barnabas are about to go and preach the good news of Christ. They might be thinking: this is going to be a long, hard journey, But God promised to meet all our needs; we must go and teach Jesus to people and show them how to be saved from their sins.
Are you familiar with what a missionary is? He is the one sent out to work for Jesus Christ. He goes to places where people don’t know how to be rescued and teaches them about God’s compassion. Paul and Barnabas were among Christ’s first missionaries. They also took a young man from Jerusalem, named John Mark, with them.
The Journey that Started
Are we going to try and imagine that we are with the three men as they say goodbye to church friends and start their journey? Let us go down the mountains with them and toward the seashore. We don’t have trains or buses, so we have to walk to Seleucia, sixteen miles away.
This is where we take a boat and sail to Cyprus, where Barnabas was born. We’ve learned a lot from Paul, but let’s see for a moment what we can learn from Barnabas, our newly-found friend. He was a great man and full of the Holy Ghost and faith; the Bible tells us [Acts: 11:24]). He was brave and strong and would risk his life, like Paul, to win souls for Jesus. (See [Acts: 15:26].) He’ll surely make Paul a good helper. We watch as missionaries slowly make their way from one end of the island to the other.
A Man of Wickedness
Now, who is this troublemaker that we see coming to us? We discover that his name is Elymas, and he doesn’t want to hear that Paul and Barnabas are talking about Jesus. He tries to make it impossible for a very good man to believe in Jesus. Paul, however, has the Spirit of God in himself and knows what is in the heart of that wicked man. He says to Elymas, “You son of the devil. The hand of God is on you, and you will be blind.” At once, this man becomes blind and seeks to find someone to guide him by the hand. It’s a terrible thing to obstruct one who seeks Heaven, and Elymas was punished for his wickedness.
But we’ve gotta be on our way. We’ll board a boat again and sail to Pamphylia. Here we say goodbye to a friend of ours, John Mark, who is moving back to Jerusalem. Then we head to the city of Antioch. Not from Antioch, but from another city with the same name. We cross rugged mountain passes where there are many threats. Robbers might be hiding along the path, but the angels of God are watching over us, and nothing can do us harm.
Now it is the Sabbath, the day that the Jews go to their church called the synagogue. We’re going to this church, and we’re sitting among the Jews gathered for a prayer. Uh, listen! Someone is reading the Old Testament from the Book of the Law. We see a man coming toward us when he finishes reading. What do you think he’s saying? The church rulers would like to know if there was something Paul and Barnabas had to say. Now how happy Paul is! This was his chance to preach about Jesus. We watch him stand and wave his hand, maybe to quiet the crowds. He tells them of God the Father’s love; he tells them of Jesus’ birth and of His death and resurrection. Then he says to the Jews, “We give you glad tidings.”
This is our verse of remembrance, and it says, “We bring good news to you.” What’s the good news? This is the message that these people will be saved by Jesus Christ. Paul advises them to come to Him and be rescued, not to turn away from Jesus. The “Glad Tidings” have never entered this land before.
From the Gentiles
We see all the Jews leaving the church when Paul finishes his sermon. But the Gentiles, those who are not Jews, gather around Paul and ask him on the next Sabbath to preach to them. So almost the entire city comes to hear the Word of God the next Sabbath. That makes the Jews jealous. They fear that these preachers are becoming too famous altogether. How will Paul preach to both the Jews and the Gentiles the same gospel? “The Jews are possibly saying it But the Jews are told by Paul and Barnabas that when they did not receive the Gospel, “we turn to the Gentiles.” This is the aim for which the missionaries came—to preach redemption to the Gentiles. Many trust the story of Jesus and are rescued.
Jesus needs all the citizens to be rescued to come to Him. It doesn’t matter what country they’re born in or what color their skin may be. Jesus came to save the lost, and it is important to save every person born in the world.
The Journey’s End
God gave Paul the authority to cure a wounded man and to make him walk. He was cured because he believed in Jesus and he believed in him [Acts 14:11-12]
When Paul healed the man, they thought Paul was a prophet. Has Paul been a god? No, he was like us, a normal guy. People are trying to destroy Paul because he told them to believe in the true God, not the false God.
Just one God exists. God the Father, the son [JESUS], and God the Holy Spirit have three parts, but they are all one God.
We follow from place to place as busy preachers make a lot of people happy. Not all individuals, however, are friendly, and people throw stones at Paul in one town and try to put an end to his work for Jesus. Jesus loves Paul and does not let him be killed by the wicked people. For Jesus, there is more work to be done.
We’ll start at home again after a while. We’re sailing to Syria from Attalia and back to Antioch, where the Christians are waiting for us. When Paul and Barnabas tell the people what God has done, we listen. A disabled man has been cured on this journey, and many people have been led to know and love Jesus. Not only were the Jews able to learn about the Gospel of Jesus, but also the Gentiles. We also read that the door of faith has been opened to the Gentiles, which means that they have learned to believe in and be rescued by Jesus. How grateful we are that we learned about Jesus, too!
The greatest work anyone can do is to win souls for Jesus, and today we might be missionaries, too. While not all of us fly to faraway places, as Paul and Barnabas did, we can work for Jesus. Children can be a blessing to others in various ways. Everything we do for others out of gratitude, we do for the Savior Himself. Let us ask Jesus to make us runners for Him.
“Little feet be careful,
Where you take me to,
Anything for Jesus,
Only let me do.”