Read Acts 14:5-18, Ps. 115:1-4,15-16, John 14:21-26
“Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, ‘Stand upright on your feet.’ And he sprang up and walked.” (Acts 14:9-10)
In today’s first reading, Paul and Barnabas fled for their lives upon hearing a rumour that a combined team of the Gentiles and the Jews were planning to molest them and stone them. Why did they run for their dear lives? Was it the case that they lacked faith? Not at all.
The fact that we believe in God’s protection does not mean we should put God to the test. Remember the words of Jesus: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men…” (Matthew 10:16-17). In this moment of crisis, Christians everywhere must beware of people whose hearts are so full of hatred for Christ and all manner of wickedness. Beware of those whose religion does not teach them to love their neighbour as themselves.
The same Paul and Barnabas who fled from Iconium went to Lystra to preach the Gospel. There was a cripple there who could not use his feet from birth. Seeing that this man had faith, Paul said to him: “Stand upright on your feet.” The cripple sprang up and walked. Truly speaking, as Jesus taught us, “if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible to you.” (Matthew 17:20)
Nothing of this nature had ever happened before. The priest Zeus brought out oxen and garlands intending to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas (the same men who ran for their dear lives in Iconium). To the people of Lystra, Paul and Barnabas had just done something only God can do but the mistake the people made was the same mistake that we continue to make today; we idolize our ministers. It has gotten to the point that people now give testimonies directed at advertising the minister rather than God.
Paul and Barnabas tried their best to explain to the people that they were not gods but ordinary men with flesh and blood. They were not consumed by pride. Their behaviour is truly a lesson to us today. You may wonder, “how were they able to work that miracle?” Jesus gives us the secret in today’s Gospel passage: “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home in him.” (John 14:23).
If you have God the Father and God the Son living inside you, will anything be difficult for you? Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12).
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, draw me nearer to you every day. Amen
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. (Monday of the 5th week of Eastertide. Bible Study: Acts 14:5-18, Ps. 115:1-4,15-16, John 14:21-26)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu