There is a common thread with Paul and the religious leaders, and it's this one ugly word; Jealousy. This all stems from control, power, and greed. If the leaders honestly didn’t believe in Jesus, then there is no threat in a powerless God. But they knew there was more to the man who rose from the dead that they desperately did not want to acknowledge. “But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot… Acts 17:5
This verse is the perfect description of bullies at its finest. This seems to be the ammo of today’s atmosphere to stir up division-They gathered some troublemakers, formed a mob, and started a riot. And verse 8 is the results. The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports. Gosh, if this doesn’t sound like we are reading today's paper, eh?
Wherever truth was preached, trouble followed. And when there were open ears and open minds, trouble was stirred up once again. See verses 11-13 This has to be exhausting. This reminds me of the parable of the seeds that Jesus spoke about. Paul is scattering the incorruptible seed far and near, and the thorns choke it, the heat scorches it, or the ground is stony, and religion pukes it out. But my favorite part of this chapter is Paul entering a city filled with false gods.
(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.) So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way,
“For as I was walking along, I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.” Acts 17:21-23 NLT
I have always found when you come across such “seekers,” they are the ones that are white for the harvest. But we can have trepidations and may veer from those tangled in cults, wrapped up in new age, or have an open mind for other religions. When I was younger, I would not see this as a field to harvest; I would feel afraid or nervous. I didn’t know my authority in Christ. I didn’t understand the full power of the cross. I loved my Jesus as my Savior, but when it came to confronting demonic power or cult-like atmosphere, I was intimidated and did not comprehend being called to contend. Such situations would perhaps have me praying in tongues for protection while I passed through an “evil” atmosphere. But as I have grown in my relationship with my Lord, I have grown in my understanding of who I am and who’s I am. I don’t pick fights with the devil, but I won’t run from one of them either. I have learned to stand up and fight in the field I am called to take. This is what Paul shows us in verse 23. He uses their curiosity to open the door to the truth. He didn’t walk around a field that looked unfriendly; he saw it as an invitation to introduce the True God, and he seized it. It’s a David and Goliath moment. If you're called to a giant on a field, the field is yours, and the monster must bow.