Acts 17: 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
Paul was on Mars Hill when he addressed the people. In many ways it was the Jerusalem of Greece. The Greeks had many gods. The Romans had essentially the same ones, sometimes by other names. Going up to the hill were earthly images of their gods lining the streets. People made pilgrimages to worship all of them. Paul looked out over the people and saw what they devoted their lives to. He called their gods their devotions. He saw the foolishness of it. He saw the vanity of mankind. His spirit was stirred because the city had been given over to idolatry.
We see what people devote themselves to today. The gods of today are nothing, just as they were in Paul’s day. Neither can or could do anything for the people. Paul didn’t say he beheld their gods; rather he saw what they were devoted to. In their ignorance they sensed there was another God, one invisible that they did not know. They inscribed a pedestal with the inscription To The Unknown God. That’s the world without Jesus today. People sense something is missing. Man looks at the stars and something speaks to them—“there is a God up there and you don’t know him.”
This God can’t be known on our own. Paul declared him to the people. He went on in the next few verses to tell them about the God who made the world.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:
They needed someone to tell them about this great God. Paul did just that! In the midst of our world, God has planted us to help people who blindly go on worshipping whatever they wish. At one time God winked at such ignorance. Now He is declared. We have been given the opportunity to declare God to the world. A Christian declared it to us in the past and we responded and were saved. We are in turn blessed to declare him to others. Often we talk about God as if sharing our opinion in a debate. This is more than what we believe. It is what it is! If someone says they don’t believe there is a God and we respond by saying “I believe…” then in effect we are offering our opinion. We can say God is God and Jesus is his son. It’s true whether people believe it or not. Paul was not intimidated. He simply declared the invisible God and the risen Christ. Many of the Greeks were saved.
In 1776 this nation didn’t request its freedom from the King of England. The people got together and wrote The Declaration of Independence and declared this nation free. Through our testimony, God and his Son can be known. Let’s declare them!