A couple of years ago, I had a viral arthritis that attacked my hands, knees, and ankles. It was horribly painful but only lasted about a week. Walking was excruciating. It gave me a new appreciation for those who suffer with crippling arthritis.
Paul was preaching in Lystra when he locked eyes with a man who had been crippled from birth. Paul had been observing him intently and knew he had the faith to be healed. In order to attract the attention of the people, and to glorify the name of Christ; he stops the sermon and with a loud voice calls out: “Stand up on your feet.” Instantly the cripple leaps and praises God. The crowd was amazed.
Because of the superstition of the people in Lystra, they thought the gods of Mercury and Jupiter had come down to visit them and brought this man healing. Paul and Barnabas were mortified that the people wanted to offer sacrifice before them and began to rend their clothes. Their words seem to enrage the people.
Paul being Paul; confronted the crowd with; “Why are you doing these things?” He bade them to turn from these useless things to the living God. It made these people so angry they began to stone Paul and drag him through the streets. The same people who worshipped him yesterday were stoning him the next. Many a pastor endures persecution today whether it be verbal or physical. The people who love him one day, hate him the next.
Paul counted it a privilege to be persecuted for Christ’s sake. His preaching in Lystra was not in vain because this crippled man was totally restored to full health.
Prayer in Motion:
Lord Jesus, help me to speak with the same fervency with which Paul spoke. May I never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Give me the continual courage to pour forth God’s Word into anyone who will listen. In Jesus Name. Amen