Sunday, January 21, 2018

Athens 2.0

Paul, being in Athens, preached Jesus and the resurrection in the marketplace and to whomever would hear him.  Then certain philosophers, referring to him among themselves as a babbler, took him to Areopagus and quizzed him concerning the strange doctrine of which he spoke.

Then Paul addressed the Athenians in what we now refer to as his Sermon on Mars Hill.

But between the first paragraph above and the short second one there is a parenthetical, which we quote here.
(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)  Acts 17:21 KJV
And that insert is the text for this morning.

Athenian society of the first century was much focused on knowledge, on telling and hearing of new things.  Philosophers of various sorts held forth in the agorae and had done so for several hundred years, dating back to Socrates in the fifth century BCE. The parenthetical sums it up:  they spent their time in nothing else.

Almost two thousand years from the time of Paul's visit to Athens we find ourselves living in a society in which the hearing and telling of new things overwhelms our ability to 1) keep up with it all, and 2) live a productive life characterized by internal peace.

Reflect on that.
Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  John 14:27  KJV


Sharkbytes said...

I've been noticing that people seem to like something "different" when they think they perceive that the current system isn't working. Since so many are blaming Christians for the ills in the world now, they seek meaning in the native religions, pantheism, animism, eastern religions. Of course the problem is that people are going to be the same, no matter what ism is currently popular. When disillusionment from these belief systems sets in, then there will be a great Christian revival. I'm not saying that the Spirit of God does not count for anything, but I'm beginning to think that the "group think" aspect is a dynamic we have discounted.

vanilla said...

Sharkey, Jesus told us, "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." In patience we wait for His timing and submit to His will. And yes, herd instinct is alive and well in the world.

Vee said...

One lesson learned in my youth was that standing alone is not a bad thing. People constantly seek knowledge and truth while resisting the only source of both.

vanilla said...

Vee, exactly so, and well-said. You should write a Sunday sermonette series-- you have a knack for saying morn in two sentences than some of us can in a page.)

Vee said...

Ha, Vanilla. No sermons from this sector.