What To Do When The World Beats You Down
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. — Acts 14:19-20
So what is stoning? Because clearly, Paul was not hitting a pipe with Jews from Antioch and Iconium.
Stoning was a biblical form of capital punishment where accusors would chuck large stones upon a guilty party until they were dead. It was a sentence for crimes against God and people for things like murder (Lev. 24:17), idolatry (Deut. 17:2–5), witchcraft (Lev. 20:27), and blaspheming the name of the Lord (Lev. 24:16). Stoning had to be corroborated by 2-3 witnesses, and then those witnesses were the first to throw the stones.
So Paul is being stoned for blasphemy, which is why he used to round up and imprison Christians. A little ironic, I think. And remember, Paul just got chased out of the towns of Antioch and Iconium, so these same Jews come down to Lystra for a witchhunt and lynching. And so it's a little laughable, but in Lystra, Paul goes from hero to zero overnight. One day he's a Greek god, and the next day he is a stoned Jew.
But I love this next part. It says these Jews dragged him out of town, assuming he was dead. And they leave him. But it says some of the "disciples gathered around him." Now I am not sure what they are doing. If maybe they are praying or are preparing to bury him. But then he gets up, goes back into the city, and then onto Derbe, which was 40 miles to the east.
You know this gives me a lot of hope today. Here is why. Being a Christian and a man in today's culture is hard to navigate. Some days it's going to feel like you are on top of the world, and then the very next day, it will feel like people you think should be behind you are out to get you. But guess what. God will always vindicate the man of God. He will rise again by God's command. But this does not mean our bodies will not bear a few scars along the way. Scars that leave emotional and physical marks. But the man of God just gets back up again, and keeps moving forward.
ASK THIS: How are you being knocked down? (Share below if you dare!)
DO THIS: Get back up in the name and power of the Lord.
PRAY THIS: God, I need your strength to get back up again! Take my hand and raise me. Help me by the power of your Spirit to keep moving forward.
PLAY THIS: Run To The Father — Cody Carnes.
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