I’m trying to read from John through Revelation before the end of 2009, and while I’m well into Acts, I’m still going to have to speed it up quite a bit to finish in time. Anyway, today a verse in Acts 17 really struck me. When Paul was preaching the gospel to the Greeks in Athens, they said, “You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.” (v. 20)
First of all, I love the phrase “bringing some strange ideas to our ears.” It has a funny little ring to it, and something about it makes me smile. But the gospel of Jesus Christ — the fact that he came to earth as a helpless little babe, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again — is just as countercultural today as it was for Paul. His audience was a contemplative, philosophical crowd, and Athens was a city chock full of god and idols. But their ears had not heard the simple message of Christ. So Paul told them plainly, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” (v.24) He told them that we are God’s offspring, made in His image — therefore “we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone — an image made by man’s design and skill.” (v.29)
But are we willing to follow Paul’s example? Are we willing to bring strange ideas to the ears of others? Are we willing talk about idolatry (even though it looks much different than it did at Athens), and point people to the One true God “who made the world and everything in it?”
If we haven’t been doing this, it is a great time to start. May we boldly, prayerfully and respectfully bring strange ideas to the ears of others this season of Advent.