Do Not Fear the Greeks

 

The Areopagus, Mars Hill in the Bible.

Acts 17:22-31
Psalm 66:7-18
1 Peter 3:13-22
John 14:15-21

Paul made his way to the very center of civilization, at least as it was believed to be in the Roman Empire. After preaching in the markets of Athens and making a name for himself, the Areopagites invited him to discuss his ideas with them. The Areopagus was the supreme court of Athens, named after the hill on which they met. Part of their job was to decide if a particular religion was true or false.

Areopagus is a rock outcrop a few hundred yards from the higher and larger Acropolis. The photo below shows the Acropolis at night on the left, with the small bump of the Areopagus just to the right, before the scene descends into the city buildings.

Photo by Alona Azana

The scene below is the approach to the Areopagus.

The view of Athens from Areopagus.

And while we are looking, here is a photo of the Parthenon under reconstruction, having been blown up in WWI.

Back to Paul. He knew he was dealing with the most powerful men in Athens, but he also knew they always loved debates about new ideas. The court always met on Areopagus at night, a tradition from truly ancient times. Paul stood before them and praised them for their religious faithfulness. I noticed one altar (one of a number in Athens) on which were inscribed the words, TO GOD THE UNKNOWN. It is this God whom you are worshipping in ignorance that I am here to proclaim to you! Phillips

Just as Jesus did, Paul always searched for a way to speak the truth without attacking the people he was speaking with. If it could not be done—Jesus and the Pharisees—they still spoke the truth.

It worked for Paul. At least one member of the Areopagus, Dionysius, became a follower, and the council agreed to hear more from Paul at a later time.

Like Paul, we have nothing to fear by speaking the truth about God and Jesus. We may have our heads chopped off, but look at what we gain.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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