Pastor Kyle Bitter - The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost - Sunday, August 30, 2020
This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. Those thoughts probably crossed the minds of Barnabas and others as they gathered around the battered body of the apostle Paul. A city that had welcomed Paul and Barnabas with open arms had turned hostile. Enemies who had been there every step of the journey had now arrived in Lystra, and stirred up the crowd against Paul. A joyful crowd had turned into a vicious mob just like that. Shouts of adoration and praise turned to threats and mockery, and a peaceful assembly soon became a riot. As tensions increased, Barnabas and others had been shoved side and then the rock started flying. Unable to dodge them all, Paul eventually went down and his motionless body was dragged triumphantly out of the city where he was left for dead. As the crowd dispersed, his little group of followers gathered around. Some had to be thinking: this isn’t how it was supposed to go. After a little while, the apostle started to stir – the stoning had been brutal, but not brutal enough. God’s protecting hand had preserved the life of his missionary, because he had many more things planned for Paul. Just before the words of today’s sermon text, Luke wrote: “after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day, he and Barnabas left for Derbe.” (Acts 14:20 – NIV84).
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