The Extraordinary and Ordinary Acropolis and the Apostle Paul

I will be writing a blog or two on our ministry training school in Athens, but first I wanted to share an image of the Acropolis which towers above the city of Athens.  While walking around the Acropolis, the Agora (market place), Mar's Hill, ancient Corinth, etc., you get a real feel for what life would have been like during the days of Jesus, Peter and Paul.  It's absolutely amazing.  As you stand at the Acropolis, looking down on other temples, Mar's Hill and the Agora, you can't help but think about how impressive all of this would have been during the time when Paul spoke to the people of Athens about God, Christ and the reality of the resurrection.  What a blessing to have a opportunity to walk in his footsteps! It's extraordinary!

What's amazing is that the modern city of Athens exists in the shadow of these ancient pillars.  People go about their business, get on and off the subway, eat in restaurants, sleep in their beds, drive their cars, etc. seeming to barely noticing the incredible historical edifices that surround them.  It just becomes the backdrop for their lives. The extraordinary becomes ordinary.

What will never be ordinary are the words of the Apostle Paul.  His words were seen as extraordinary to the people of Athens in his day and they still are extraordinary today.  While the Acropolis crumbles, his words continue to impact lives and stand firm today.  

Take a few minutes and read his words again... or for the first time. 

Acts 17:16-34 (ESV) - [16] Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.  [17] So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.  [18] Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, "What does this babbler wish to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities"—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.  [19] And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?  [20] For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean."  [21] Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.  [22] So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.  [23] For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.  [24] The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,  [25] nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.  [26] And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,  [27] that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,  [28] for " 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, " 'For we are indeed his offspring.'
 [29] Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.  [30] The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,  [31] because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."
    [32] Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, "We will hear you again about this."  [33] So Paul went out from their midst.  [34] But some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.

These words will never be ordinary. 


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