Unstoppable! 'What Are These Strange Ideas?' — Acts 17:18-21

Wednesday, September 4, 2024

[Paul] also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, "What's this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he's picked up?" Others said, "He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods."

Then they took him to the high council of the city. "Come and tell us about this new teaching," they said. "You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it's all about." (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)

— Acts 17:18-21 NLT

Key Thought

The leading teachers of religion and philosophy of Athens largely disregarded Paul's teaching about the uniqueness of Jesus and his resurrection. They were interested in hearing him because they were fascinated by the intellectual aspects of what they perceived were the new ideas he shared. To me, as a long-time minister and evangelist, few things are more heartbreaking than people interested in the message of Jesus only as an idea to be entertained but not something they intend to believe. The world has always been full of opinions, philosophies, and religious talk. We must not reduce the message of Christ to little more than a novel idea. Jesus came to bring life and call us to live God's will while on earth. We need to know the reasons for our faith while we must resist the notion that faith in Jesus is just another religion about another nice person. Jesus did not claim to be a way of life, but THE way of life. He comes to us and challenges us to decide whether he is Lord of all or simply another religious poser.

Today's Prayer

Father, I do have times when doubt creeps into my heart. So much in my world crowds into my heart trying to displace Jesus as Lord. I ask for the Holy Spirit to strengthen my faith in Jesus as my Savior and deepen my understanding of Christ as my Lord. Help me guard my mind against thoughts that would minimize Jesus and his call for me to follow him as the source of life. I ask this in his name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Acts 4:12; John 1:1-18, 14:6-7
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 1 John 1:1-4; Hebrews 1:1-3

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 17:18-21 NLT — [Paul] also had a debate with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. When he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, they said, "What's this babbler trying to say with these strange ideas he's picked up?" Others said, "He seems to be preaching about some foreign gods."

Then they took him to the high council of the city. "Come and tell us about this new teaching," they said. "You are saying some rather strange things, and we want to know what it's all about." (It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas.)

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.