What exciting chapters Acts 16 & 17 are! Paul has total commitment to preach to as many Gentiles as possible the message of salvation. This was in spite of the hostility that arose. His usual approach was to speak to the Jews, and he “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving …” (17:2,3) his message about the teaching, life and death of Jesus. Most Jews rejected this with acts of violence.

The Jews revered their holy book, but they misunderstood it. Christians did too but since the first couple of Centuries all too many decide what they want to believe, such as going to heaven when they die, vainly looking for proof, ignoring all the passages that say otherwise.

Paul came to Athens and found “the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new” (verse 21); these were the things of human imagination, but Paul challenged them to get to know “the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth” (verse 24).

The Bible has made this challenge to the world ever since. Paul told the Athenians to “seek God … that they might feel their way toward him and find him … he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness” (verses 27,30,31).

There are increasing reasons to believe that the day of judgement is now close! Our world is in a total mess. In Athens “some mocked” (verse 32) especially at the thought of the dead being raised. What is our reaction?

How pleased God will be if your reaction is like it was “in Thessalonica (where) they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily …” (verse 11).

May we feel motivated to do the same – and not be like the foolish virgins who had no oil in their lamps (Matthew 25:3) or like those Jesus said, “because you are lukewarm … I will spit you out of my mouth … so be zealous … behold I stand at the door …” (Revelation 3:16,19,20). Let’s be ready to open it.