I love science-oriented, crime-solving shows and books. I love how the characters go back to the beginning with reverse engineering methods to look for reasonable clues for why the crime happened and how it was committed. Forensic detectives are meticulous at retracing steps, collecting even the tiniest pieces of evidence for proving their hypothesis while detectives on the street talk to witnesses to add evidence to the total picture. Clues are always left behind. We leave our DNA everywhere we go!
Guess what, God left billions of clues behind when He formed His creation! The science of God’s incredible creation is more than any mind can imagine, though many learned men and women keep trying! But the greatest “clue” of all is Jesus. God created humans with choice to decide to love Him back. The first humans, Adam and Eve, made the wrong choice and followed evil’s suggestion to “be like God” (like he always wanted to be!) God knew and God had a Plan.
God, left clues of a Plan, created from the beginning. These clues were expressed through God’s prophets centuries before the Plan was complete. God knew humans would be plagued with making wrong choices. God knew from creation, with His Son standing next to Him, that humans with choice would need a Way to come back to Him in a loving relationship when they made those wrong choices. As believers, we know that Plan was Jesus Christ, His Son. Only Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice could bring repentant mankind back to an intimate, loving relationship with our Creator, God. Jesus died and rose again so that we who believe would have life eternal with our Maker. This is the clue of Hope.
In our passage today, I am reminded of all the clues God leaves us each day. The beauty of sunrises, sunsets, rain to nourish, sunlight to grow, the changing seasons with the display of colors that cannot be duplicated with cameras or paintings. He leaves clues of His care for us when problems are solved and needs met in miraculous ways that we never dreamed. He leaves clues of his love through His loving people who encourage us on our journey. He leaves clues and evidence of Who He is every day of our lives. We just need to look up with a grateful attitude of recognition of the glory and power of God! God consistently leaves evidence of good beyond our doing! Can I get an amen?
Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, passionately looks into the eyes of a lame man “ripe and ready for God’s work, ready to believe” and GOD heals the man. Not Paul, but God! As humans we are so ready to praise men and women who do good things in the Name of Jesus but it is God who makes it happen! We are merely the vessel through which God’s Spirit is poured out!
Paul sets the community, who worships many gods and idols, straight about the One and Only God of Creation. Look at the clues and embrace God, says Paul!
Friends, we are a clueless generation at times who need to look at the evidence of Truth displayed through the life of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life. Only by accepting and believing, repenting and living for Him, are we no longer clueless.
ACTS—God’s Acts through His Disciples
Acts 14:8-20, The Message (Emphasis in bold are mine)
Gods or Men?
8-10 There was a man in Lystra who couldn’t walk. He sat there, crippled since the day of his birth. He heard Paul talking, and Paul, looking him in the eye, saw that he was ripe for God’s work, ready to believe. So he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, “Up on your feet!” The man was up in a flash—jumped up and walked around as if he’d been walking all his life.
11-13 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, “The gods have come down! These men are gods!” They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes” (since Paul did most of the speaking). The priest of the local Zeus shrine got up a parade—bulls and banners and people lined right up to the gates, ready for the ritual of sacrifice.
14-15 When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, “What do you think you’re doing! We’re not gods! We are men just like you, and we’re here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God. We don’t make God; he makes us, and all of this—sky, earth, sea, and everything in them.
16-18 “In the generations before us, God let all the different nations go their own way. But even then he didn’t leave them without a clue, for he made a good creation, poured down rain and gave bumper crops. When your bellies were full and your hearts happy, there was evidence of good beyond your doing.” Talking fast and hard like this, they prevented them from carrying out the sacrifice that would have honored them as gods—but just barely.
19-20 Then some Jews from Antioch and Iconium caught up with them and turned the fickle crowd against them. They beat Paul unconscious, dragged him outside the town and left him for dead. But as the disciples gathered around him, he came to and got up. He went back into town and the next day left with Barnabas for Derbe.
I once was clueless but now I’m not. I know you are the One and Only who saves. I don’t know all there is to know about you, but what I do know, I know for sure. I love you with all my heart, mind and soul. You are the living God who gives hope, joy, love, mercy and grace and sets us free from our own selfish sins. Continue to transform me into all you created me to be.
In Jesus Name, Amen