Acts 14 is focusing on Paul’s journey with Barnabas to share the Gospel with the world. One of the really cool things about these early church leaders is the miracles they were gifted to perform as a testimony of Jesus’s power and majesty. In verse 8, Paul heals a man who had been unable to walk since birth. All that witnessed this, became amazed and began worshipping Paul and Barnabas. They had mistaken the men as the source of power rather than a vehicle for the power. As a result, they began believing them to be Greek gods — Zeus and Hermes, specifically. These witnesses brought offerings and began honoring the men based on this misunderstanding.
Barnabas and Paul, realizing this, tried to correct the people. They explained that they were not gods and had no power of their own. They tried to tell the crowd that they were just humans.
So often we put each other on pedestals. Celebrities, mentors, parents, politicians, pastors, friends, spouses — we set an impossible standard on each other. Even worse, sometimes we put ourselves on a pedestal. And then we have a blind spot not realizing we have exalted ourselves over others. We find (or admit) no fault of our own — only looking to others for blame. We expect other people to provide us happiness, a sense of purpose, identity, but that is too big a burden for another person. We may never openly admit we are viewing others as gods or goddesses, but the reality is when we expect or anticipate perfection or when we never see a fault in ourselves, that’s exactly what we are doing…..elevating a human to the category of god.
The problem is people are not perfect. They are not gods. Even the kindest, nicest, most selfless person will falter sometime. Whether a big fall from grace or merely a stumble, we are destined to be disappointed if we expect someone to be perfect like a god.