I could pick out the Acropolis as we flew into Athens, but I could not tell which was Mars Hill. Since I was on company business, I could not take the extra time needed to be a tourist, but had to hurry through customs, change airports and catch the flight on to Cyprus.
Just seeing them from the air was the answer to a dream, if not a true prayer. To be where Paul preached.
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. (Acts 17:16-17 KJV)
Paul never neglected an opportunity to spread the gospel, even when it brought him into dispute with other, knowledgeable men. Synagogues, homes, out in the market place, he spoke with people he met.
Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. (Acts 17:18 KJV)
These were Greek philosophers, the ones who not only thrived on disputes and arguments but stood on their philosophies to the death – or to the death of those who would dispute, thinking of Socrates. But they didn’t quite make sense out of Paul’s story of Jesus and His resurrection. Can you relate to that? Do you know of someone who has yet to understand that same gospel?
So they took him to the Areopagus, or Mars Hill, not to punish or stop him, but to hear more:
(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) (Acts 17:21 KJV)
Paul fulfilled their request. When he closed, the result was much as it is today – some believed, some scoffed and some said they’d be back to hear more:
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. (Acts 17:32 KJV)
Still others believed:
Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. (Acts 17:34 KJV)
Those two, and others with them, listened to the babblings of a man willing to confront and dispute with strangers. Their names are written in God’s word, and most likely, according to His word, are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 13:8).