Our Shared Humanity
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“Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them.” (Acts 14:15 NET)
Some people can seem larger than life—especially those who accomplish things that most of us cannot even fathom. If I asked you to think of an example, maybe you’d name a famous musician, sports icon, movie star, or perhaps an Olympian. I personally think of Aaron Rodgers, the longtime NFL quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. I grew up watching him on TV for many years where he would make countless mind-boggling passes to receivers or effortlessly evade defenders.
The people of Lystra had a similar “star-struck” experience with Paul and Barnabas. This community was going about their daily life when two men showed up and commanded a lame man to stand. They watched as the man immediately stood up and was healed (Acts 14:8-10). If any of us had been there in person, we, too, would have been blown away. But things got out of hand quickly. The people were convinced Paul and Barnabas were two of their gods in human form, and the local priest “brought bulls and garlands to the city gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifices to them” (Acts 14:13). Paul and Barnabas were horrified by this claim and rushed out proclaiming the opening verse above, reminding the crowd that they were simply men with human natures as well. They quickly pointed to God as the provider of the miracle, as He is the living Creator unlike their worthless gods (Acts:14:15-16).
The crowd at Lystra wrongly placed their worship on the men proclaiming God to them and missed Jesus entirely. Who do you look up to spiritually? Remember that they, too, are just men! On the other side of the spectrum, you have Paul and Barnabas, the objects of the worship. They were quick to remind the people that they had human natures too. How do you think of yourself personally and spiritually? Remember that you also once had not yet personally experienced Jesus’ redemptive salvation.
The one thing that unites us—regardless of how far along we are in our journey of sanctification—is that we have turned from the worthless things we used to worship and now serve the living God! Be reminded that as we run with endurance the race set out for us, those ahead and behind us are just His people too. Let us not idolize spiritual giants or think less of young believers. Rather, in unity, let us press on together toward the heavenly prize, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, knowing that He calls us to recruit others to this amazing race (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Scripture quotations taken from the New English Translation NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.
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