Read Acts 14:11-15
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.
Paul saw that the lame has faith to be healed (v. 9), so he called out to the lame, “Stand up on your feet!” And the man who was lame began to walk. Because of this act by Paul, the crowd regarded Paul as one of the gods – Hermes (branded idol in our word today). And Barnabas they called Zeus.
Barnabas and Paul immediately rushed out to the crowd and told them the truth about who they are. “We too are only human, like you…”
Why were the crowd so quick to regard Barnabas and Paul as gods in human form?
This is because they recognised what both of them did can only be done by God. However they have a wrong view of who God is. They thought there were many gods and they were familiar with Zeus and Hermes.
The fact is Barnabas and Paul did not heal the lame. It was the faith that the lame has that healed him and his faith was built upon Jesus. That’s why Paul and Barnabas emphasised to the crowd that they were there to tell them the good news of Jesus Christ.
Barnabas and Paul were there not to be doctors or act like a god. They were there to proclaim Christ! They preached a message about having faith in Christ Jesus and you will be set free from the bondage of sin. Note that in the ancient culture, people relate a man’s sickness or incapable of walking as the consequence of his sin. Therefore when a man got healed from his illness, he is consider to be forgiven by God! As the man seek healings, he seeks forgiveness from God.
Idolatry – we are quick to worship humans who appeared to be helping us to improve our lives. Thank God both servants of Christ were quick to direct people to worship God and not worship them as gods.
Today! Not many religion leaders will remind us they are also human like us in need of God’s grace. Some leaders seem to enjoy the honor that the people gave them. Some unintentionally or intentionally led others to worship them.
May I not fall into this trap of self-worship! I am only a human like you.
O God, we are worshipers of Christ. But we admit we are weak in worship. Sometimes we worship you but sometimes we also worship other things in our life. May God help us not to worship humans or things. May we only worship God, the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit. In Christ, Amen!