Our verse for today comes from Acts 14:11, “And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men.’”
One of my sweetest childhood memories includes my elementary school library. There, on the bottom shelf, almost all the way to the left, was my most favorite book to read. The cover was a well-worn, dark purple hardback, smaller than most all the other books, and its pages were filled with the stories of the gods as told by Edith Hamilton. Any and every time our class went to the library, my path was directly to this glorious book of mythology. I don’t recall having a favorite story, for so many fascinated me equally. And I also don’t recall ever wondering if any of what I read could actually have been true. I never thought Mount Olympus might be an actual place where these deities resided or that they came down and mingled with humans.
I didn’t consider their explanations of the origins of things to be the actual, historical truth. I simply loved the stories. But the crowd at Lystra had a different sort of experience. They witnessed a miraculous healing at the hands of Paul and, rather than harkening back to one of their beloved tales, they thought that the gods of the heavens had actually come down from the mountain in the form of men. What they had heard about or read about, the great legends passed down from father to son, was unfolding right before their very eyes. Another chapter was being written in the saga. Or so they thought.
What was actually taking place was the expression of the one true God who did come to Earth in the form of a man. And when He came, lived, died, rose, and ascended, He surpassed any myth and defeated every foe that any culture might conceive or believe. Jesus came down, not to make us into gods, but to enable us to be fully human, restored and reconciled to the God who made us in His image. He didn’t send Cupid to express His love or have to deal with the curiosity of Pandora. He came in love and took our sin upon Himself and made it possible for us to know and love and follow Him. There is no story as marvelous as this truth, and we get to experience every day of our lives.
As we seek Him today, consider the impact of the Infinite God coming as a man to live and die because of His great love.