Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
— Acts 14:19-20 NLT
The simple, matter-of-fact way that Luke told this story leaves me humbled and full of questions. I am humbled by the faith, courage, and perseverance of these early missionaries, especially the apostle Paul. He was stoned and left for dead. After the stoning, fellow believers gathered around what appeared to be his lifeless body, yet he got up and went back to town. Amazing! Paul's toughness, faithfulness, and commitment to his mission are astounding. How injured was Paul? Did Luke intend for us to see Paul's getting up after being stoned by the crowd as a miracle? Paul will use this event as a call to courage in a few verses (Acts 14:27), but how did the people react? Were they strengthened by this event? There is so much that Luke doesn't tell us. I can't help but feel that he, and the Holy Spirit who inspired him, wanted us to be encouraged and strengthened by Paul's example, similar to the examples of the great heroes of faith.*