Acts 17:18, 30-32 - Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him [Paul]. And some said, "What does this babbler wish to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities"—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. ... [Paul said] "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead." Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, "We will hear you again about this."
No doubt the apostle Paul had many scoffers in Athens over his conversations about Jesus, sin, God's mercy and grace, and especially the resurrection. Now while Christians may be labeled as closed-minded to believe something like the resurrection, it is really God's Holy Spirit who opens our minds to embrace the Good News of Jesus Christ—and that includes His bodily resurrection.
The book of Job gives us one of the most popular texts on the subject of resurrection. Job said it well: "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth ... yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another" (Job 19:25, 26b-27a).
Jesus also spoke of the resurrection to the Jews who were seeking to kill Him: "For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will. ... Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear His voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:21, 28-29).
Statements like these—and there are many others in the Bible—led the church long ago to say, "I believe in the resurrection of the body," thus rejecting those who teach otherwise or deny what the Bible says. And by the way, the Bible does not teach reincarnation either. Hebrews 9:27-28 says, "And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him."
What a great future awaits you and me when we embrace the words of the Savior who lives and in whom we shall live. Hebrews 13:14 says, "For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come." With the Holy Spirit keeping our devotion wrapped around Jesus' words of life, let us together and with great confidence, move into the wonderful future that God has prepared for those who love Him.
WE PRAY: O Holy Spirit, give us hearts of faith, trusting in Jesus and the power of His resurrection. Amen.
From "An Open Mind for the Future," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Dale Meyer, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
1. Why is talking to people about Jesus' resurrection such a challenge?
2. The men in Athens who questioned Paul about Jesus and the resurrection were leading thinkers of their day. How did Paul stay on point in his conversation with them?
3. Why is prayer always a good place to begin before sharing our faith?
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