7 And they were preaching the gospel there.
8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked.
9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,
10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.
11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”
12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.
There were Jews in Lystra (Acts 16:1), but probably not enough to have a synagogue.
cripple from his mother’s womb (v.8) — identical description as that of the man Peter healed (Acts 3:2)
Luke emphasizes the man’s helplessness (v.8) — without strength, cripple, never walked
heard (v.9) — imperfect tense — “heard repeatedly” — he evidently attended several of Paul’s discourses
stand up straight (v.10) — evidence of complete healing
Paul refers to his miracles among the Galatians in Galatians 3:5: Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? These works were evidence of God’s blessing of the ministry to Gentiles.
raised their voices (v.11) — a sudden outburst of sound
Lycaonian language (v.11) — a local vernacular. In the out-of-the-way town of Lystra, the Greek language hadn’t yet taken complete hold, although the people could understand Paul and Barnabas. In their excitement, they reverted to their native tongue. Paul and Barnabas didn’t understand what they were saying until the priest brought the offerings.
the gods have come down to us (v.11) — The pagan peoples of that age commonly believed that their gods visited the earth from time to time in human guise. In particular, they had a well-known myth that Jupiter and Mercury had visited, in human form, an old Phrygian peasant woman named Baucis and her husband Philemon, who, though ignorant of the nature of their guests, entertained them so hospitably that they received special boons and honors from the gratified deities. Lystra was not far away from the locality in which the scene of this myth was cast, and the superstitious Lystrians thought that Paul and Barnabas were the old deities returned to earth again to confer special boons on men.
Zeus (v.12) — Jupiter. The chief god in the Graeco-Roman pantheon. He was regarded as the great father and lord of all, gods and men alike. He is pictured as of majestic appearance, with a flowing beard. The Lystrians probably likened Barnabas to him because of his more venerable mien and his comparative silence. The greater was regarded as acting through the lesser.
Hermes (v.12) — Mercury. Son of Jupiter, and the messenger and interpreter of the gods, especially of Zeus. He was the patron deity of orators, merchants, etc. He was regarded as the inventor of speech. To the pagans of Lystra, Paul, on account of his activity in preaching, etc., appeared to be Barnabas’ spokesman and interpreter. — Walker, pages 310-311.
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