Sixth Sunday of Easter (May 21st)

Pastor's Summary of Acts 17:22-31

On his second missionary journey, Paul has crossed Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and has arrived in Athens, a city know for its interest in the divine and in openness to discussion of philosophies and religions.  He argues for Christianity in the synagogue and in the marketplace.  The philosophers see him as dabbling in philosophy and proclaiming "foreign divinities", of Jesus and the resurrection. He is invited to join in philosophical discussions at the "Areopagus" on edge of the marketplace. He present the good news to a people of a culture very different from the one in which it was first proclaimed. He explains it in their terms.

After praising the Athenians for their peity and gods, he draws attention to an altar to "an unknown god". He tells them: I know that god: he is God; he made the word and is Lord of it. He depends on nothing , so he is greater than all Greek gods; he is the source of all.

Paul now quotes Greek writers in defence of his arguments. for "god's offspring idols are inadequate objects of worship; only the true God, the creator of heaven and earth and of all lower orders of spiritual being, is worthy of our worship and service. Ignorance of his ways is no longer acceptable, becasue God will have Jesus judge people's worthiness.  This we know because he has raised Jesus.Raising a man to divine status is hard for Paul's hearers to accept. Some are open to further discussion but others are not.