Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: An imaginary testimony from the lame man Paul healed in Acts 14, giving the context of the events through the story


This all happened a very long time ago.


We live in the middle of nowhere, well just outside the middle of nowhere actually. We live here because it's a retirement home for old generals. My dad was a general – legatei is our word, and we moved around the empire when I was a kid, but when he got too old to serve they sent us here. Now we live on a huge estate just outside the city of Lystra. Well they call it a city, but I've seen real cities. Anyway you know it as Kistraii its in the province of Galatia – an area you call Turkey.


You can tell its the back of beyond – they even have their own language, they understand Latin – when they want to, but they choose not to speak it. We've been here long enough now to have learnt the basics of Lyconian, but we still speak Latin at home.

Condition and lack of cure

You should know that when I was born my ankles were not formed properly, so I never learnt to walk. I'm OK now though, and that's what I'm going to tell you about today.

My brothers had to carry me everywhere, and if it hadn't been for my mum I'd probably have been dead before I'd got old enough to have a story to tell. All I ever wanted to do as a child was run with my brothers, and though I was more accepting by that time I still really wanted to be normal. Mum had taken me everywhere – to all sorts of doctors, priests of who knows what religions, representatives of every local god in every place we stopped – all I got out of it was pain, nothing ever made my ankles work. It was all mumbo jumbo and never made any sense. Somehow we had upset the gods and they had to be paid some price to calm them down, then I would get better, but like I said – all I got was pain.

Jews from Iconium

One day we heard that some Jews had come from Iconium. It's 20 miles north, and not an easy journey. There are hardly any Jews here, so we didn't know why they'd come, but mum would never miss an opportunity, so my brothers hauled me down to the square in the centre of the city and we sat and listened to them.

Odd couple

They were an odd couple, one was tall and looked like he was a prince, he didn't say much. The other was short and stocky with a bald head and spoke to the people. Once you started to listen you were hooked – at least I was. A lot of the locals had stopped to listen. He was talking about one God, one god to rule them all. Just like all the others this God was angry about the way we behaved, but unlike all the others He had done something about it.

Stand up

I was paying close attention to everything he said, almost getting lost in it. I noticed that he kept looking at me. He spent more and more time facing in my direction. Then he stared right at me and said “Stand up on your feet”. My brothers and the crowd must have though he was mad, but I just obeyed, once I was up the world was different, I started to walk around. I was rather hesitant at first, but both my feet were pointing in the right direction and my ankles were holding my weight. I felt like jumping up and down and running around, but I didn't know how to do either yet.

Gods have come

I was even more surprised when the locals started shouting “The gods have come down to us in human form”. They began to repeat it like a chant.

“The gods have come down to us in human form”

“The gods have come down to us in human form”

Then the penny dropped. They really believed the old legend.

Lycaonian Legend

They had a story that said a long time ago Zeus – the king of the gods in heaven, and Hermes – the messenger, had come down from heaven disguised as humans to visit them. They had gone from house to house looking for a place to stay, but everywhere they went they were turned away. They kept going, and they kept being turned away. They had visited a thousand households when, nearly out of town they came upon an old couple who welcomed them in, and even though they had almost nothing, provided Zeus and Hermes with a meal and a place to stay. As a reward, they were the only people left after the gods flooded the valley, and their house was transformed into a marble pillared, gold roofed temple, and the old couple became their priests.

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