The two men faced the crowd as if besieged by fierce horror! The crowds however remained exhilarated and shouted praises their praises.
“These men are gods”, the crowd chanted while the “gods” broke into them almost shedding tears!
What had happened was simple: there was a man these two “gods” had found who was suffering from Bulbar polio. They deemed him as having the thing Christians call “faith” and told him to stand up! In no less than three seconds, this man was up jumping and rejoicing!! And then it was official, these two men were gods come in the likeness of men! In fact these men were given new names “Jupiter and Mercury the God men”.
As if that was not enough, a privileged member of that town ordered oxen and bouquets to be brought so that a feast was thrown for these new super heroes.
However the din of the crowd could not drown out the voices of these two men, in fact this crowd needed a visual aid to get the point! They rend their clothes and shouted
“Homies, we’re just men like you come to preach the word of God who made heaven and earth and sea and all that’s in it. Back in the day He was easy with your downplaying him yet he always gave rain and seed and bread.”
But that was not going to help at all. In fact some quick thinking PRs came and took advantage of the situation. With the excitement of the crowd, they easily made them look like criminals and soon our celebs were no longer basking in mistaken identity, “Mercury was annointed with stones and left for dead.
What kind of men could these have been? To shun public adoration for truth? Words of praise are like kind words: they taste like honey, sweet to the taste and good for your health yet these men did not want this sort of adoration!! Wow!
Would you do the same? Rend your clothes, deny you’re just human and redirect the glory to God? Well Paul and Barnabas did and almost paid a huge price for it. But that was not among their fears. I think they were more concerned about ending up like a famed King Herod who was eaten up by worms for thinking he was actually a superhero! For them the glory was God’s.
How many of our good citizens act likewise, claiming to be the best of the best, “slicker than your average” when it was God who put them there?
This simple adaptation of Acts 14:8-18 is just a reminder. When God does the big things and the small things and (okay He does everything for your good.) remember, you are not to blame, God is.