Daily Lesson for Thursday 7th of December 2023
Read Acts 17:24-34. How does Paul continue his witness?
It’s also interesting to note that Paul actually quoted some of their own writers, who, having written something fairly close to biblical truth, gave Paul an opening to take his hearers further along. That is, he used his familiarity with their beliefs to seek common ground with them, only to then take it further. No question: in seeking to reach others, having a familiarity with what they believe and seeking points of common ground can be a powerful method of reaching people.
Notice, too, that Paul uses this common ground with them to go then to where he wanted to go: the resurrection of Jesus and the hope it offered them all. Luke described the reactions to Paul’s closing words about the Resurrection. Some sneered at the idea; others said they wanted to hear Paul again on the matter; and some believed. What is key in this story for our purposes is that all of them had actually listened. And that was Paul’s hope from the beginning.
We know that some people will reject the gospel, but we must do everything possible to ensure that before they reject it, they understand what they are rejecting. Paul, by his method of working among the Athenians and his strategic use of what he had studied and learned of them, ensured that they heard with open minds that a God existed whom they did not know but who had created them. This God loved them and wanted to be known by them. He had been merciful to them in spite of their ignorance. But Judgment Day was coming. And if all of this sounded too unbelievable, there was verifiable evidence for it in the resurrection of Christ.
Now that the people had actually heard and comprehended the message, they had to choose for themselves whether to reject it outright or investigate further. And some did investigate further and became followers of Jesus (Acts 17:34).
Challenge: In prayer, ask for God’s specific guidance in knowing how best to witness to someone you know.
Challenge Up: Explore social media as a possible “Areopagus” for you to represent the gospel—with Paul’s clarity and discretion—to unbelievers.