32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “We will hear you again about this.” 33 So Paul went out from their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.” (Acts 17:32–34)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ always, always solicits a reaction. The response may be negative, positive, or an ambivalent in-between, but the Gospel always solicits a reaction.
What is true now was true in biblical history. Take Paul’s message at the Areopagus for example. There were three reactions by the Greek philosophers and the Athenian citizens who heard the apostle preach concerning the One, True God of the Bible and the person and work of Jesus Christ. What were those three reactions?
First, there were those who mocked the message: “Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked.” The Greek word for mocked (χλευάζω; chleuazo) means to jeer, to joke at something, or to make jest or fun of. The grammar indicates that this mocking was done continually, personally and actively by many people.
Dr. Simon Kistemaker writes that, “Plato and other Greek thinkers had developed a doctrine of the soul’s immortality. They reasoned that the soul migrated to another place, but that death terminated man’s physical existence. Indeed, to the Greek’s way of thinking, spirit was good and matter evil, and the soul was said to dwell in the prison house of the body, receiving its liberation only at death. Given such a view, it is not hard to see why a Greek would struggle to understand why a soul returning to reanimate a body could be a good thing.”
Therefore, many in the audience that day completely rejected the Apostle Paul’s proclamation of the Resurrection. In effect, they rejected the only source of eternal life, which gives the individual soul’s immortal joy. That source of joy is found only in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Do you know anyone who mocks the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I do. Please, do not hold them in derision but continually pray for them and your efforts, and my own, to share and show the truth of the Gospel and new life in Christ.
Soli deo Gloria!