The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
Acts 14:8-12 shows us a classic case of mistaken identity. By the power of Jesus, Paul and Barnabas heal a nam who has never been able to walk. The people in the community immediately recognize that divine power has been operating. What is this divine power? How has the man been healed?
As good Spartans, the people know perfectly well that divine healing comes from the Olympians. The one who was speaking, Paul, must actually be Hermes in disguise. The one who was not speaking, Barnabas, must be Apollo, who gives orders to Hermes by his divine nod.
The power of the true God is easily mistaken. We are seldom adequately aware of the way God would work. We easily read happenings through our accustomed cultural lens. Sadly, we are a bundle of contradictions. People are good, people are bad. God works in this world, but is irrelevant and really doesn’t do anything. We all need help, but we help ourselves.
The world is still this way, isn’t it? However, the Scripture gives a clear picture of who God is and how he works. Rather than mistake God’s power for Apollo and Hermes, maybe we can turn to God’s Word and find out what he is really like.
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