Mistaken for Gods

Read: Acts 14:8-28

Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. (v. 12)

I have been mistaken for someone once. Unfortunately, it was not a Greek god, like with Paul and Barnabas. It was Glen Campbell. I never really saw the resemblance, but it was a thrill being mistaken for a popular singer.

Our Scripture lesson today describes Paul and Barnabas being mistaken for Greek gods! Paul had done an amazing thing—he had healed a man who had not been able to walk since birth. In this pagan culture with its pantheon of gods, the people immediately thought they were in the presence of Zeus and Hermes.

For Paul and Barnabas this could have been a real ego trip! But instead, they used it as a starting point, referencing creation and providence as proofs of the existence of the one God. “We also are men, of like nature with you,” they said, “and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them” (v. 15).

The people we meet every day all have different backgrounds and experiences. Paul used one approach in evangelizing Jews and another for evangelizing Greeks. The same is true for us, too, as we witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in a diverse world. —John Koedyker

As you pray, ask the Lord to help you be sensitive in witnessing to the people you meet.

About the Author

Rev. John Koedyker has been a pastor in the Reformed Church in America for more than forty years. His ministry began in Japan where he served as a missionary for ten years. After that he has served churches in Iowa and Michigan. He has served as the Stated Clerk of Muskegon Classis, RCA, for the past sixteen years and also presently serves as pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church of Grand Haven, Michigan. John has written a number of times previously for Words of Hope and he has a bi-monthly religion column in the Grand Haven Tribune. He is married to Marilyn, and they have four grown children and seven grandchildren.