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Posts Tagged ‘Areopagus’

Verse 32: “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on the matter.””

Between high school and moving out on my own, I lived with my grandmother; this allowed me to stay “at home”, and at the same time, gave me some “freedom”, since I was in college. I was still living with my grandmother when I got my first job in the Information Technology department of a textile company. I would come home from work that first year of employment, and my grandmother would ask, “How was your day?” “Oh, it was fine.” “Good! So…what did you do?” Now, my grandmother was not technical in any sense; she was one of those people that couldn’t program the clock on her VCR. At first, I was in a quandary; how do I explain to my grandmother that I dealt with mainframe jobs, using procedure modules, COBOL code, and job control language (JCL)? Well, I resorted to what I like to use in such cases: analogies. My grandmother was one of the best cooks in the world, and she knew recipes! Therefore, I described what I did in a way that sounded like I was following a recipe and cooking in the kitchen. She understood perfectly.

We find Paul here with the rare opportunity to speak to the men of Athens at the Areopagus. He wanted to make the most of this chance to witness to these people, but this was not his usual audience. He had to reach them in a way that would hold their attention. I marvel at how he seized on their very idol worship, to explain that the unknown god whom he saw an altar set up for, was the One he spoke of. He then proceeded to explain the Good News in a manner that focused on God as the Creator and eventually led to the saving grace of Jesus. Paul had to explain this to them in a manner that they could understand.

Some did understand Paul; others mocked him. Still others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” According to some text I’ve read in my Holman commentaries, this merely indicated curiosity, or even polite acknowledgment. While Paul’s stay in Athens didn’t result in a crusade-like coming to salvation, there were those who did hear and believe, such as Damaris and Dionysius. Remember, even if you tell masses of people about Jesus Christ, don’t be discouraged if the number of responses don’t tally up to what we think is successful. To the Lord, every soul is precious, and all need to hear the Good News!

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verse 19: “And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak?””

I once went on a once-in-a-lifetime trip as a high-school band student. I toured with the United States Collegiate Wind Bands, one of several ambassador bands comprised of musicians from across the United States. During our 3-week European tour, we got to stay in the homes of Dutch families in the village of Oud Beijerland. Now, in the Netherlands, English is taught as a mandatory second language; still my fellow Alabama roommate and I were careful not to let our “Southern accents” slip when we talked with our host family. One evening, as we were enjoying the sunset of a beautiful Dutch day, I asked our host family’s 16-year-old daughter Rachel, “what time do y’all eat supper?” She blinked several times, pondering what I said before innocently replying, “what time do…what?” Embarrassed, I restated, “um, what time does your family eat dinner?” She smiled, answered “around 5pm…in fact, I should go inside and help my mother.” With that, she excused herself. My roommate Drake picked at me, “you idiot.” I said, “I know! I know! She had no idea what “y’all” means!” 🙂

The Athenians were bewildered by Paul’s talk of resurrection…some thought he was a “babbler” while others thought that it must be some new god he was describing. Long before social media, most Athenians’ favorite activity was chatting about the latest intellectual pursuit or new philosophy. So, quite fittingly, they brought Paul to the Areopagus, the local center of all discussions, to ask, “what’s it all about”?

Unlike my question to Rachel and her response, Paul figuratively rolled his sleeves up as if to say, “I’m glad you asked!”

More to come!

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