Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. ~Acts 14:20
Roy Riegels played for the University of California at Berkeley football team from 1927 to 1929. Cal played against Georgia Tech in the New Year’s Day Rose Bowl. Roy will be remembered as the player who picked up a fumble but unknowingly ran the ball back to his team’s goal line. The Cal quarterback, Benny Lom, chased him and tackled him right before getting to the goal line. Georgia Tech soon capitalized on Roy’s error and made a two-point safety conversion. At half time, Roy sat in a corner of the locker room in total embarrassment. He had no intention of going back out to play. The coach, however, told the team that the players who started the first half would also start the second half. He told Roy, “Roy, get up and go on back; the game is only half over.”This morning, we see an incident that exhorts us to get back in the game!
We see a victorious rejoicing.
Paul and Barnabas had just entered the city of Lystra. A man who had been born lame in his feet was sitting close to where Paul was preaching. Paul set his eyes on the man and called on him to stand up and walk. God’s power was at work and enabled this man to leap and walk. A man who had never known what it was like to walk on his own two feet was now able to do so. Paul used this miracle as an opportunity to proclaim Jesus even more boldly and to spread the gospel in this town. News spread quickly of God’s power at work. People came out of curiosity as Paul and Barnabas deflected praise that they were receiving back to God. Every victory that God gives us is an opportunity to glorify Him and further the message of the gospel.
We see a vicious rejection.
The Jews who despised Paul at Antioch and Iconium came down to Lystra to stir up trouble against Paul. They persuaded the people to turn against Paul. It’s amazing that the same people who were just praising Paul had now changed their minds and vilified him. Paul was rejected! Rejection is when you are despised and not wanted. Rejection is when you are denied privileges and accessibility. Rejection is hatred represented by disallowance. The people of Lystra, along with the Jews from Antioch and Iconium, formed a mob that viciously took Paul, drew him out of the city, and stoned him. Each stone and rock hurled at Paul was aimed with angry hatred. Paul was pummeled with stones and left for dead on the ground. Rejection can leave you bleeding, injured, and in a crumpled heap. You feel like you are dead and have nothing to live for.
We see a valiant resolve.
As the disciples stood around Paul, he rose up! I imagine Barnabas and the new converts at Lystra looking at Paul as he lay on the ground and urging him to get up. “C’mon Paul, get up!” When someone is down, the best thing we can do is collectively encourage him to get back up. In spite of the physical and emotional hurt, Paul rose up! He stood up on his own two feet. Then, he went right back into the city. Paul did not run from his situation. First, he went back to face those who rejected him. He wanted them to know that he was not a quitter, and did not do the terrible things he was falsely accused of. Second, he went back to doing what God called him to do: preach the gospel. It takes courageous resolve to keep going when you have been hurt and down. Like Paul, get back up! It hurts, but get back in the game: it’s only half over!
Determine to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord!
Have a steadfast God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 2 Kings 4-5