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Lystra of Asia
Brief Overview of Paul's Visit to Lystra on His First Missionary Journey
# 6 To Paul and Barnabas, Lystra seemed to be a good place to wait out
the storm of opposition stirred up in Iconium. In Lystra they starting preaching
again and when Paul healed a crippled man the people thought they were gods and
said "The gods have become like men and have come down to us", and they
called Barnabas - Zeus, and Paul - Hermes. Paul and Barnabas corrected them and
preached the gospel. But Jews from Iconium and Antioch of Pisidia came to Lystra
and turned its citizens against the missionaries. Paul was stoned, dragged out
of the city, thinking he was dead. When the disciples came to him he rose up and
he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
Lystra is located about 18 miles southwest of Iconium and it was not positively identified until the discovery of an inscription in that area in 1885. The town now a place of fallen ruins lay in a small valley watered by a small river flowing to the east. Lystra had once been a military outpost of Rome but declined in population and importance after the area was subdued. It was off the main roads, and its inhabitants spoke their native Lycaonian language rather than the Greek used by most citizens of the Roman Empire in Paul's day (Acts 14:11).
Gal 4:4 "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His
Son, born of a woman, born under the law"
There is no doubt in what the Word of the Lord says, that Jesus came, "in the fullness of time." Politically, intellectually, morally, and everything else in the Graeco-Roman world was ready for the message of the gospel. One note worth mentioning is that in the gentile world, it is told, there was an expectation of a great One who about this time would come from Judaea (Tacitus, History v. 13; Suetonius, Vespas. 4).
When Jesus died on a Roman cross it was not the end but the beginning. His followers would spread a message called the "gospel" meaning good news starting in Jerusalem and spreading to the farthest parts of the known world. Their message was:
Jesus, a lowly Jewish carpenter from the despised city of Nazareth, was rejected by His own Jewish nation and crucified by the Roman governor was indeed the Messiah and the Savior of mankind, who rose from the dead and anyone who would accept Him would be forgiven of all sins and would rise with Him in glory.
Those who spread the message were mostly Jews and were commanded by the Lord to go to the Jewish brethren first and then to the gentiles. When they entered Jewish synagogues they were scorned and persecuted by most of the Jews, and even the Greco-Roman cultures referred to their message as "superstitious rabble." Yet the Book of Acts reveals that the message about Jesus Christ spread to all who of those who had open hearts throughout the whole Mediterranean world and, as Jesus had promised, the Holy Spirit entered hearts and lives.
Around 48 AD, in the springtime, Paul and his companions Barnabas and Mark were called on a mission by the Holy Spirit and sent out by the church in Antioch. This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. In his missions he preaches the Word, performs many miracles, makes many disciples and raises up elders for the new Churches. He is also heavily persecuted, yet his life and ministry is one that has set an awesome example of dedication and courage for all to remember. You can look at the Map to trace the route of their first church-planting campaign.
The Story of the Bible
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