for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them
to perform signs and wonders" [14:3]
As one who "speaks boldly for the Lord" I'm not sure I have ever done
this. In fact, I'm not sure I know exactly what it means. What did Paul
and Barnabas do? Signs and wonders get confusing to me because they
always seem to capture people's attention, but then often the people
who witness these things aren't sure where to direct their attention
and, as is the case here the result is often chaos and confusion. Paul
and Barnabas announce healing on a man who has been cripple since birth
(parallels the experience of Peter and John in Acts 3) and the people
think that they are gods and try to make sacrifices to them. Just like
Peter and John in Acts 3, they take this opportunity to try to steer
people in the right direction, assuring them that it is not by their
power or authority, but through the risen Jesus that this man was
healed. That is all well and good until the authorities come and turn
the crowd (the same crowd that was just trying to worship them as gods)
against them. They stone Paul and leave him for dead.
So my question is, what was the point in what Paul and Barnabas did?
They certainly proclaimed the good news, but the signs and wonders
seemed to be more trouble than they were worth… like they actually
kept people from hearing the good news.
I just wonder if sometimes we don't trust in the power of a clear
proclamation of the gospel. Why do we think we need flash and flare or
signs and wonders? It's interesting, whenever they preach the gospel
great numbers of people hear and believe, but then when they try to
show the power of God through signs and wonders, no matter what they
said they had a hard time convincing people where this power and
authority came from.
What are the modern day "signs and wonders" that might actually hinder our proclamation of the gospel as much as they help?