We join Paul in the midst of the Areopagus. This was the temple and the civil court under the “authority” of the god Ares. “This body held extensive authority over the civil and religious life of Athens. In Paul’s day, it exercised jurisdiction especially in the matters of religion and morality” (ESV Study bible notes on Acts 17:19). He is presented with the opportunity to speak to the leaders of Athens about the One true God.
Athens was a very religious community. They worshiped EVERYTHING! And to make sure they didn’t miss something/someone, they had an alter for the “unknown god.” Paul was able to use this as a springboard for his testimony regarding Jesus and the One true God. God opened a door for him, even in the midst of one of the most pagan societies ever.
Paul was also able to capitalize on their desire for new things. Athenians were known for their desire for new ideas. Paul had a new twist on an old idea. As William Shakespeare said “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” These people knew there was more but they didn’t know where to look. They had a God sized hole that they were trying to fill with little gods.
Paul’s “new idea” was the one that began before creation and continued on throughout the annals of history; God is the maker of us all and He loves us! Paul didn’t start in the same place where he began when addressing the Jews. These people didn’t share that history. Instead he began with their desire to serve their gods. He pointed out to them that a god made by man cannot be superior to man.
The ONE TRUE God is bigger than anything man can come up with. Thank You God for that fact! I would never make it through this life. Thank You that You are willing to point out the obvious as well as build on foundations I put up in error. You can redeem anything and use it for Your good. Use me my Creator to share Your story.
I know tonight’s story is short but Paul said everything already. The God of the universe wants a personal relationship with each of us. He wants us to start at repentance and move with Him from there into the fullness of His plan for each of our lives. Not everyone believed Paul but enough did and Paul was able to bring more souls into God’s kingdom!