What were they saying?
Barnabas felt an icy chill overtake him, zapping him in the head, running down his spin, and landing in his toes.
"It's Zeus and Hermes!" a man shouted again. The crowed started chanting along with him, and in a matter of seconds people were prostrating themselves at his and Paul's feet.
Was this what it felt like to be God?
Barnabas smacked the thought out of his mind. He wasn't God, and he wasn't going to fall for that particular temptation. But how did they get the people to stop? Barnabas cast a frantic look in Paul's direction. He had a similar expression on his face. They needed to do something, and they needed to do it now.
"We are not gods!" Barnabas yelled at the top of his lungs. Paul joined him, screaming until he was red in the face. It felt like it took hours, but slowly the people around them started to listen. Eventually Paul was able to explain that they were indeed men, but servants to the living God. The people understood, but Barnabas knew they had scarcely restrained the people from offering a sacrifice to them.
Based on Acts 14:14
"And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, 'The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!' Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 'Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, 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. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.' Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them." Acts 14:11-18
I find this pretty interesting. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have this desire to be praised, to be the best at something, to have others look up to us. Sadly, we've see countless kings and countries fall in the Bible, and today, for that very reason.
Paul and Barnabas denied that desire. They kept God first.
Does it put denying yourself in a whole new light?
Denying yourself means denying those desires deep down that you don't want to acknowledge or let anyone see. It means denying a piece of you. It means giving up your glory for God's glory.
Do we have what it takes to be like Paul and Barnabas, or will we fall prey to the same desires as our many predecessors?
I think John the Baptist said it best.
"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30
V. Joy Palmer