“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17
They’re called Jedists. They are a registered religion. The Jedists boast 11 followers and base their religion on the characters from George Lucas’s 1977 movie, Star Wars. According to their blog, all the Jedi’s preach is that there is a force of Good and Evil. Not that there is a supreme being. Not that there is an afterlife. Not even that there are miracles. Only that there is a force of Good & Evil and a moral code. They don’t have the Ten Commandments, but they do have some “moral code” doozies: They say there is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no death, there is the Force.
Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous? How do we reconcile something so ridiculous with God’s Truth. It’s not easy to do these days. Our culture has reached an all time low standard of acceptance for such nonsense. Our society has come to believe and accept anything any one wants to espouse as “truth”. We live in an “if it feels good do it” culture spiraling further from God and His truth.
We’re much like the Epicureans Paul encountered when he traveled to Athens during his second missionary journey. They pursued a life of pleasure. “You only go around once in life,” they believed, “so grab as much pleasure as you can.” The Greeks were intellectuals and rich in both personal and cultural wealth. Lots of Greeks spent much of their day sitting around talking philosophy and debating political, social and religious thought. In Acts 17: 21 we read, “Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling and hearing something new.”
The Bible says that when Paul visited Athens he found the city full of idols. He preached Christ everywhere he went, in the synagogues and in the marketplace. Every day. The Gospel Paul preached irritated the Epicureans and the Stoics. ” ‘What would this idle babbler wish to say? He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities–because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.’ ” v.18.
To the Athenian intellectuals, God’s truth was babble. It was ridiculous. They worshipped idols, even an idol to an unknown God.
Don’t we create and worship idols in our culture today? An idol is anything we elevate above God. Stop and think for a moment. Is there anything or anyone in your life you love or worship more than God? There’s certainly a lot of candidates out there. There’s a lot of “babble” and “ridiculous” ideas about God, Jesus, the resurrection and God’s truth today.
Paul had a lot to say about other gods to the pagans in Acts 17. “The God who made the world and all things in it,” Paul said, “Since He is Lord of heaven and earth, He does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.” 17: 23-24. He continued to confront their ridiculous beliefs with God’s truth teaching them God is creator of all, sustainer of all, giver of all and controller of all.
When they heard about Jesus and the Resurrection from Paul, some scoffed, some wanted to hear more and some followed him.
We’re going to be confronted with the ridiculous in every corner of life. How will you reconcile God’s truth that is in you?
How do we become “always ready” to give an answer (to confront the ridiculous) with the hope (God’s Truth) that is in us? By knowing God’s word and studying (not just reading) it daily. From 1 Peter 3:15-17.
The FBI has a sure-fire way to spot counterfeit (ridiculous imitation) money. They don’t study counterfeit bills. They study real bills so thoroughly and intently that spotting counterfeit money comes almost naturally to the agents.
Will you be bold enough to confront those who espouse ridiculous ideas about God and His Truth? Will you know the Truth well enough to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in you?