Acts 14:8-20, John 13:34-35

Rachel Nixon
Rachel Nixon

Has anyone ever mistaken you for someone famous? Has anyone earnestly insisted that they know you, but you have no recollection of ever meeting them? Has someone recognised you because you bear some striking family resemblance? I'm sure it's happened to most of us at some point. Remember Guy Goma who went to the BBC for an interview, only to be mistaken for Guy Kewney, editor of, and was then subsequently interviewed live on BBC news about a topic he had little knowledge about?

In Acts 14:8-20 Paul and Barnabas heal a man who couldn't use his feet and had never walked. The crowd, on seeing this, mistake them to be Gods in human form - Paul as Hermes and Barnabas, Zeus. Subsequently the priest of the temple of Zeus prepares garlands and the crowds wanted to prepare sacrifice. Paul and Barnabas tear their clothes and attempted to affirm their mortality, and proclaim truth about God but even still the crowds tried to sacrifice to them. Some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won over the crowds, but Paul is stoned and left outside of the city presumed dead.

This passage got me thinking; Perhaps you've never told somebody to get up and walk - and they have, but when you've shown grace, forgiveness or love beyond what is ordinarily expected as a reflection of God's working in our lives - how often do we challenge people who think we're just being 'nice'? Those who don't know God can do many 'nice' works, just like shamans and magicians at the time of Jesus could heal or seemingly perform miracles - like Paul and Barnabas we need to point people to the reason for the hope we have. Like when that person comes up to you in the street and is sure you're some relative of such-and-such, because you 'look just like them'; how much do we carry the likeness of Jesus with us, or do people just think we're 'nice'?

We read in John's Gospel (13:34-35), Jesus says, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." That you love one another as I have loved you; not in our own understanding of love should we love people, but in the way God loves us. This is more than 'being nice people', to really carry the likeness of Jesus with us, we need to know his love for us. It's easy to say 'I know God loves me', but on what understanding? What experiences of this word 'love' do we think of when we say that, and are they the right ones?

Spend some time this week praying and asking God to give you a fresh expression, a fresh, true understanding of what it means to be loved by Him. Then ask him to help you carry that with you, in all that you are so that we may not be identified by anything other than having a hope that is 'out of this world'. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.