“While Paul was waiting…in Athens, he was greatly distressed” (Acts 17:16).
It’s encouraging to see Paul continuing to grow as he pressed on to new territories, taking the Gospel to people who had never heard. In addition he trusted his teammates with more responsibility. When he was alone, he missed them.
Being such a strong personality you might not think he really did need what he preached to others – we need each other. It’s not like he was immobilized when he was alone. He might have felt lonely when he first went to Athens, but as he walked the streets and saw the tremendous blindness and arrogance of the people he stepped out in faith and in obedience to his calling.
He reasoned with those in the synagogue and marketplace as he shared the good news. You see his intellectual prowess as “a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to dispute with him.” Soon they asked him to present his views to a meeting of the Areopagus.
His message there was profound. Listen: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.”
He confronted them with where he perceived they were and then presented his message clearly as the answer to their religious confusion and uncertainty. He quoted from some of their own poets as he proclaimed the true God as creator, judge and redeemer, concluding with a declaration of Christ’s resurrection. Not many, but some responded by faith and a church was planted!
Are you responding to the challenges you face today with faith and obedience?