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Lystra

Lystra was a town of Asia Minor that the apostle Paul preached in during part of his missionary journeys (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey), with mixed results. As with most everywhere else, some accepted the Truth and became Christians (see also Christianos), while others rejected it.

"having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city"

Paul's Ministry was very often a matter of preaching to people who either joyously welcomed the Truth, or violently opposed it. The first specific mention of Lystra in the Scriptures was when Paul "fled unto Lystra" to escape being killed by those who opposed the truth in Iconium.

Paul's First Missionary Journey

"And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed."

"But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in The Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of His grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: And there they preached the Gospel." (Acts 14:1-7 KJV) [see also The Kingdom Of Heaven - On Earth]

Paul's troubles then began in Lystra as well. After miraculously healing a man at Lystra, by means of the Holy Spirit of God, instead of accepting the true God that made the healing possible, the people began to worship Paul as one of their pagan gods. When Paul pleaded with them to worship the only true God, they dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death, or so they thought - "as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city." Whether The Lord resurrected him from the dead, or "merely" healed the severe wounds that he must have had (those who stoned him would hardly have thought he was dead if he hadn't obviously been severely injured), Paul continued The Work.

"And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked."

"And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people."

"Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them."

"And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe." (Acts 14:8-20 KJV)

As with nearly everywhere else, not all the people of Lystra rejected the Truth and sought to murder the people who preached it. Timothy was among the believing Jews and Greeks of Lystra that became a disciple of Christ through Paul's preaching.

"Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily." (Acts 16:1-5 KJV)

Fact Finder: What do the Scriptures tell us about Timothy of Lystra?
See Timothy


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