May 7, 2012 - Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter

Acts 14:5-18
Psalm 115:1-4, 15-16
John 14:21-26

Paul and Barnabas go from almost being killed in one city to almost being worshipped in another. Clearly the message that they are preaching is no ordinary message. Wherever they go, people gather together in mobs to react to the message. Some people hate the message because they love sin, and they cannot love the light of the world who shines in the darkest places. Other people misunderstand the message, comically even.

The image of Paul and Barnabas having to convince the crowds that they are not Zeus and Hermes is sort of ridiculous. They are trying to tell the crowds that there is only one God, and Jesus Christ is God, but they are completely misunderstood. Paul and Barnabas have no interest in being worshipped as gods. They have to shout and tear their clothing to convince the people that they are not gods. We can see here the humility that Paul and Barnabas have learned. They are able to heal the sick because they have learned to be humble in all circumstances.

Pride may be standing in the way of our working miracles. Perhaps God knows that if I had the power to heal the sick by commanding them to be healed, my pride would become so great that the small good I did would be completely undone. No, I would not want bulls sacrificed to me, but I do not know whether I could overcome other temptations to pride.

Any good I can do can either result in the glorification of God or the glorification of me. We repeated in the psalm a prayer which captures our need for humility: “Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give the glory.” This prayer should be studied and prayed constantly by anyone who wants to work miracles.

This world needs help. It is falling apart. Our world needs help in so many ways. We Christians are particularly ready to help, because we are filled with the Holy Spirit. God can do amazing things through us. He can use our hands for healing. He can use our mouths to speak words of encouragement to those who need it. He can use our feet to take us wherever he needs us. We must not allow pride to stand in the way. We need to study humility, whether through suffering and unjust persecutions or through prayers. We need to be humble.