“When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in human form!’… The apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their robes when they heard this and rushed into the crowd, shouting, ‘People! Why are you doing these things? We are people also, just like you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them.’” – Acts 14:11 & 14-15
In Acts 14, Christ performs a miracle through the Apostle Paul in order to show his power to the people of Lystra. The problem is, these people respond to the miracle by worshiping Paul. This scenario drives Paul and his companions into great distress and mourning as they shout, “Stop worshiping us! We are simply men who have come to proclaim Jesus!” Now, I’m sure none of us would admit that we want people to worship us, but we sure do like honor and praise for our actions. Even when it comes to sharing Christ and displaying our faith, we enjoy the recognition that can often accompany it. We like people to see Jesus…but we like them to see him through how amazing we are. In this passage, however, it is important to take note that a few verses later these same people try to kill Paul because he preaches Jesus Christ as the only one worthy of worship, denying the existence of their pagan gods.
A desire to be recognized and honored will never be enough motivation to share the Gospel. In the court of public opinion, preaching Jesus could get you honored or executed. Are you prepared for either? Only a true desire for the name of Jesus to be known everywhere will give you strength to speak regardless of the outcome.
Almighty God, forgive us for the selfish and sinful desire to be worshiped by those around us. Remove any hint of that desire from us and give us one pure and perfect motive; that the name of Jesus be proclaimed to all people. Then, Father, give us the strength to accept whatever people think of us once that message has been clearly spoken.
In Christ’s Service,
Pastor Shane Cannon