And they started to call Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the main speaker. – Acts 14:12
“Hermes” (the name of the mythological god) comes from the Greek “hermeneus” (meaning, the interpreter), reflecting his divine function as the divine messenger within Greek mythology. “Hermeneutics,” the study of interpretation, is a derivative of the same. It is probably for this reason that Paul the Apostle was erroneously identified as the Greek god, Hermes when he and Barnabas first publicly ministered in Lystra. We can even understand their confusion, for though Paul was not the divine messenger they assumed, he most definitely bore a divine message! The citizens of Lystra just did not know the difference and it was up to Paul and Barnabas to correct them.
All pastor-teachers have the fearsome privilege of regularly attempting to deliver a divine message to God’s people. Most do this with an acute awareness of their own frail human nature and feel a burden to handle God’s truth effectively. Woe to the messenger who ever begins to think that he is as important as the message he has been charged to bring.
Brothers, we are not gods. The message, though divine, does not make us so and we must be careful to reject authority beyond that which God has deemed appropriate to the position. The pulpit is no place for celebrity.
The day of the absolute is over, and we’re in for the strange gods once more. – David Herbert Lawrence