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.
The second reaction to the Apostle Paul’s message is what I refer to as “deferred interest.” To defer something, or someone, is to postpone, reschedule, adjourn or suspend. Interest means to pay attention, to notice something, to be curious, and aware.
There were others within the Athenian audience who did not mock Paul’s teaching concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Rather, they were interested but only superficially. They were curious but decided to table the discussion for a later day.
Have you encountered people like that when you share the Gospel? They are respectfully attentive and seem to be generally interested. However, that is as far as it goes. They promise to discuss the person and work of Jesus Christ with you at a later date but that appointment never arrives. They are respectful, but this never leads to repentance.
Pray for a future opportunity to share your faith with someone you either work with, go to school with, or live nearby. Pray that the Holy Spirit will genuinely open their heart to the truth of the Gospel.
Soli deo Gloria!