Acts 14:8-17 :
At Lystra a certain man sat, impotent in his feet, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked. He was listening to Paul speaking, who, fastening eyes on him, and seeing that he had faith to be made whole, said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet!” He leaped up and walked. When the multitude saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voice, saying in the language of Lycaonia, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” They called Barnabas “Jupiter,” and Paul “Mercury,” because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Jupiter, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and would have made a sacrifice along with the multitudes. But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their clothes, and sprang into the multitude, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the sky and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them; who in the generations gone by allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he didn’t leave himself without witness, in that he did good and gave you rains from the sky and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”
One thing that has always frustrated me about modern Christianity is the tendency we have to elevate biblical figures in their importance. Not everyone does it the same way but doing it at all is not biblically appropriate. Some treat the biblical figures as simply more spiritual. Some use the word “Saint” in front of their names. In reality, they were “men of like passions with us.”
The people at Lystra were obviously believers in the pantheon of the time and really thought that two of the gods had come to visit. These people were not stupid. This was their worldview. There are millions today who still have idols and believe in multiple gods. Some of them are probably professionals in the modern world with a good education. The problem isn’t intelligence. The problem is that they have a worldview that they use to interpret the facts that they see. This is the way it is for all of us.
The problem is that many ways of looking at things are simply wrong. There was no Jupiter or Mercury, but there is a God of Israel. Just as Paul tried to say, these are very irresponsible actions because the God of Israel has made Himself known to all of the Gentiles and they are now to live by a different rule. That speaks to you and I today. We are not to ignore the Bible. It is the only source of truth even as modern Gentiles. Every other worldview will come to confusion like it did for the people of “Lystra.” Since the Bible is so important, we have a responsibility to share it with others who still need to see what God says.