It is possible to be doing a good work, but you end up being stoned. When your enemies are determined to get you, it does not matter the kind of good work you are doing, they will still try to harm you. Saint Paul was not new to this kind of punishment since he did it to others.
In Acts 7:55-58, while Stephen was before the Sanhedrin, but he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.”
When Paul started preaching, his preaching stirred up opposition in places he and Barnabas had previously visited – Antioch of Pisidia and Iconium, Acts 13 and 14. According to Allen Page 111, “Jewish opposition from those two towns now seek to suppress the gospel in Lystra. Their determination is seen in their willingness to travel many miles. Their opposition is so persuasive that mob action erupts.”
Acts 14:19–20 NRSV says, “But Jews came there from Antioch and Iconium and won over the crowds. Then they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the city. The next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.”
Stoning is one means of execution in the ancient world, employed to engage members of the entire community in the judgment against the accused. In many cases, the victim is first cast into a pit, then large stones are dropped or thrown on him or her. We cannot know the specific means of Paul’s stoning. But it is certainly a horrific experience as a crowd of people overtakes Paul, utterly convinced that he deserves to die. The fact that those who stone Paul did not stop until they believe him to be dead implies that he suffers visibly severe injuries.
Paul came to experience the kind of persecution he had inflicted on others. It could make him even more grateful that the Lord had forgiven him and saved him from such a sinful life. Paul continued preaching despite being stoned. This is shown in his willingness to continue preaching the next day. May God help us in Jesus Name…