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Posts Tagged ‘Athens’

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 16: “Now while Paul waited for them in Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.”

In issue #22 of the old DC comic-book The Atom, the world’s smallest superhero wound up meeting a race of “little people” who lived in nearby Giant Caverns (Yes, I know it’s a pun, but I’m not making this up! :-)). A normal human gangster named Eddie Gordon had stumbled into their cave and learned to control them with the sonic echo generated by his revolver gunshot. He used their hypnotic state to make them rob for him; their warriors wore armor, wielded fantastic weapons, and rode bats. The Elvarans, as Gordon and later the Atom himself learned, retreated to caves to survive for centuries from the human-sized oppressors who sought to kill them. Though they loved peace, they fought with such ferocity to survive, that over generations there was born a “racial hatred” for any “tall humans”. Just the sight of one would send them into a warrior frenzy. They couldn’t help it. Even as the Atom aided them in freeing them from Gordon’s control, he wound up having to rescue Gordon from their battle frenzy when the hypnotic effects of his gunshot wore off.

I don’t know if Paul had such extreme emotion like the Elvarans when he saw that the beautiful city of Athens, with all its populace, was given over to idol worship. However, the NKJV translation of the Scriptures states that “his spirit was provoked”; the NIV translation says “he was greatly distressed”. The sight did deeply move Paul to do something, for he couldn’t stand to see so many lost people, especially when he knew the Truth. Did Paul lead protests of the pagan worship? Did he write letters condemning the idolaters? He couldn’t wait on Silas and Timothy to join him there; he had to act…and act he did. So what did he do? He reasoned with them…in the synagogues and in the marketplaces. More on that later…

Does knowing someone who is lost move you, Christian, to do something? To…act?

Something to think about.

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