September 19, 2019
Acts 17:32-34 (NIV)
When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.” At that, Paul left the Council. Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.
Paul’s famous Mars Hill Plenary Address picks up a few stragglers, Dionysius and Damaris and a non-descript “number of others.” Maybe I’m pushing the text at this point, but I find it interesting in this instance they are called “followers of Paul.” Not too many chapters ago we were calling them followers of “the way.”
After the layover in Athens Paul will hit the road. Tomorrow he heads to Corinth, another seductive center of culture.
Remember yesterday when we talked about the “Lure of Plausibility?” Paul changes his tune in Corinth. He will speak of the gospel as “the foolishness of the Cross.” How’s that for ditching the plausibility approach. Here’s what Paul will say to the Corinthians:
“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5.)
He goes from “the man he has appointed to judge the world with justice” to knowing “nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
If we are going to go with that gospel—Jesus Christ and him crucified—it will require the crucifixion of everything else in us save that. All of our wisdom, gifts, abilities, talents, eloquence, knowledge and persuasiveness must be traded for “weakness with great fear and trembling.” So what of all these good things we traded in? Only what dies can be resurrected. What before were human qualifications, in the hands of the Holy Spirit become Holy Love; the demonstrative power of God.
Later, from Corinth, Paul will write the celebrated letter to the Romans where he will finally arrive at the crucified place he can honestly say:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16)
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
Where are you in all of this? Do you see how human skill and talent becomes exponentially more than human talent and skill if utterly surrendered into the hands of Jesus? It’s not about sacrificing talent but surrendering it.
For the Awakening,