When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” At that, Paul left the Council. Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.
Paul’s time in Athens was challenging for him as he debated with the philosophers who gathered daily at the Areopagus and in particular as he confronted them with the strange concept of ‘the resurrection of the dead’ against the background of their altar to ‘the unknown god’
In some ways the situation we face today is similar to what Paul experienced then insofar that for vast numbers of people, the idea of any god, apart from the gods of materialism that so many consciously or unconsciously worship, is an unknown. The difference though is that few, it seems, pause to think about things as the Areopagans did.
This presents us with a challenge very similar to that which Paul faced for we need to engage with secular men and women of all ages and backgrounds which means stepping out of our comfort zones and meeting them on their own territory. This may be in the workplace, in the leisure centre, at the pub, at the Golf Club etc.
It involves us in seeking to understand what is the 21s Century equivalent of ‘the unknown god’ and explaining that that god is the God ‘who made the world and everything in it’. It involves addressing the issues and world views that prevail and must ultimately lead us to speak about resurrection, repentance and judgement and the man, Jesus, whom God has appointed as judge confirming it by raising him from the dead.
As in Athens this will result in one of three responses.
Further interest and questions
Whole hearted belief.
Sneering is hard to accept but should not cause us to abandon such people but rather to pray and love and care making sure that such a response does not break a relationship
Further interest is something to cherish and nurture with love, wisdom and understanding while
Whole hearted belief unites us with the angels in heaven rejoicing over one (and hopefully more) sinner(s) who repent.
Paul’s experience in a worldly city should spur us to action!