How do we lift and celebrate parts of the book of Acts that do not mention Jesus? Consider Acts 14 when Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra. Paul healed a man. Then Paul and Barnabas were celebrated for being the incarnation of Zeus and Hermes. Paul and Barnabas realized what was happening. They tore their robes and told the people to set aside their vain things and believe in the living God. Paul was scarcely able to hold back the crowd from offering more sacrifices. But the people were persuaded away from celebrating Paul and Barnabas by Jews that came from Antioch and Iconium. So they dragged Paul out of the city and stoned him. People presumed him dead, but the disciples gathered around him and he rose up and returned to the city. So in Acts 14:8-20 there are many powerful literary tools used to tell this story, but how should this passage be preached in a Christian congregation?
Today in class we looked at seven passages from the book of Acts that are not found in the normal schedule of readings and likely would be avoided by many preachers. We were each assigned one of these passages earlier in the week and today preached small sermons. It was wonderful today to hear how my classmates connected these passages from Acts to our story today. I would share these sermons but I am looking forward to using some of these good ideas in my own preaching. 🙂