Acts 17.16-21

So, Paul is in Athens and waiting for Timothy and Silas. How was he going to fill his time? If you know anything about Paul you will most likely have a reasonable idea:

“… his spirit was greatly upset because he saw the city was full of idols. So he was addressing the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles in the synagogue, and in the marketplace every day those who happened to be there. Also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him…”

(Acts 17.16-18, NET)

Seeing that the city was full of idols Paul gets to work in the way he knows best: addressing the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles. Paul could not stand by and see a lost city who were yearning for something he could provide and yet be silent (Ecclesiastes 3.11).

Paul was educated and energetic and could not let an opportunity like this go to waste. A city constantly looking for something more and something new (v.21) needed to hear the grandest and greatest news ever told (cf. Luke 2.10).

We might wonder what Paul spoke about in such a situation. There’s Jews, Gentiles, Epicureans, Stoics…There’s people with vast and varied views on the world, life, death, and eternity…What would Paul say that would meet everyone’s needs and pique everyone’s interest?

“…he was proclaiming the good news about Jesus and the resurrection…”

(v.18)

The only thing that can satisfy curiosity of any kind, that can unite the vast and varied worldviews of people is the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. No matter where people are from, no matter how they see life, no matter what they are looking for, the good news about Jesus and the resurrection will be the crescendo and climax of their search (Psalm 22.27).

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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