When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
Thoughts for Today:Legend has it that the gods of Zeus and Hermes had come in human form to this same area. As the story goes, they inquired of a thousand homes asking for a place to stay, but not one person showed them hospitality. Only a poor elderly couple, Baucis and Philemon, took them in and they were rewarded with their lives when the gods in anger, flooded the valley, destroying all the people. The couple's shack was transformed into a marble-pillared, gold roofed temple, and they became its priests. So it is no wonder that the people were on the lookout for Zeus and Hermes: they didn't want the same fate to fall upon them. We can be like that as well, and when we do strange or irrational things, it is wise to look at the belief behind the behavior.
My daughter Rebecca learned to wakeboard this summer but only after overcoming her fear of lakes. It seems that when she was growing up, a boy drowned in Lake Mission Viejo. As the story goes (now an urban legend) the young man was playing near one of the platforms on the lake when he became tangled in lake grass and drowned (an exaggerated version is that he was grabbed by the lake grass and pulled underwater; divers eventually found his lifeless body under the platform). The real story has nothing to do with lake grass, the boy drowned while trying to follow his friends as they held their breaths and swam under the platform. Rebecca, like the Lycaonians, believed in a legend: lake grass was alive, lying in wait for an unsuspecting swimmer, and although Rebecca did not build a temple and offer to sacrifice a bull before she went swimming in a lake, she still allowed her life to be influenced by fiction.
Questions to Ponder:What are some of the fears you have that may be strange or irrational and are influencing your life? What do you avoid and why? Is it an urban legend or a manifestation of your imagination? Have you allowed it to define who you are as a person? Jesus came that we might find fullness and freedom in Him. Could it be that you haven't allowed Him to light that scary place under your bed, or in a lake? What makes you uncomfortable? Can you take a moment and look at it from a Christ-centered perspective?