When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some began to mock him, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this topic."
I. RESPONSIBILITY IN HEARING.
1. Application of mind. Concentration on the subject. Openness to persuasion.
2. Surrender of the heart to truth. The message not addressed simply to reason. A speculative spirit may easily admit a cloud of objections and difficulties which obscure the Word. Procrastination means indifference. Enough is already understood and felt to justify practice.
II. SPECIAL CRISIS OF OPPORTUNITY. Whether in listening to the Word, or in receiving Divine invitation through providential circumstances, opportunity at times gathers to a point where resistance becomes guilt. So it was in the Jewish nation at the advent of Christ. So at Athens by the visit of Paul. The Word may be taken away:
1. By the work of sin within us, hardening the heart.
2. By changes in the outward life.
3. By summons into eternity. "Take heed how ye hear;" "Work while it is yet day;" "Now is the accepted time." - R.
And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked.
Biblical Museum."This has been one of the worst nights," says Mr. Bampton, an Indian missionary, "I ever endured. Mockery! mockery! cruel mockery, almost unbearable! I talked for a while, and was heard by some, on the blessings to be enjoyed by faith in Christ, when a man came with a hell-hardened countenance, and that peculiar constant laugh which I can hardly bear. The burden of his cry was 'Juggernaut is the foundation! Juggernaut is completely God! Victory to Juggernaut!' He clapped his hands, he shouted, he laughed, and induced the rest, or a great part of them, to do the same. On the ground of reason I fear no one, and rage I commonly bear very well; but these everlasting laughing buffoons are nearly too much for me. It is my own great care, that amidst a reviling, laughing crowd, I do not seem abashed."
(T. Arnold, D. D.)
We will hear thee again of this matter
1. That whatever might be the diversity in the positions, talents, and sentiments of men, the doctrines of the true religion are important to all. To the "Jews," "Epicureans," and "Stoics," the apostle proclaimed the same doctrines.
2. That whatever might be the power with which the great verities of the true religion are urged, a necessary and uniform result is not to be expected. The same tool, wielded by the same hand, and with the same force and skill, could produce the same effect upon the same species of stone, metal, or timber; but the same doctrines urged by the same man, at the same time produce widely different results in the same place upon the same congregation. Here are three moral classes: — Some amongst his audience heard him —
I. WITH DERISIVE INCREDULITY. "Some mocked." The Epicureans would especially do this. They denied a future state, and regarded death as an eternal sleep. Three things would probably induce them to ridicule this doctrine.
1. It stood opposed to their preconceived notions. Many a sceptic rejects Christianity on this same ground. How foolish, how arrogant is this! Are their little notions the measure, the sum of all truth?
2. It was apparently improbable to them. Are not the generations of men reduced to dust? Have not the particles of which their bodies were composed been wrought into the texture of every species and form of plant and of animal life? Where are the symptoms of a resurrection? But how foolish this The men who saw the priests endeavouring to level the walls of Jericho, by blowing in the rams' horn, would probably "mock" them on this account, but the wails fell notwithstanding. Lot seemed as one that "mocked unto his sons-in-law," when he warned them of the approaching judgment; but the tempest of fire came albeit, etc.
3. He who proclaimed the doctrine to them was not a recognised teacher. He did not belong to their school. He was a poor Jew. What did he, therefore, know about these things?
II. WITH A PROCRASTINATING RESOLVE. "Others said, We will hear thee again of this matter." Probably these were some of the Stoics, who believed in a future state, and who were disposed to give the subject a little attention at some future time. This procrastinating of the subject of religion is exceedingly foolish, because —
1. It is, of all subjects, the most important.
2. Because an important step towards its reception has been taken when an interest has been created.
3. Any portion of future time is very uncertain, and even should it be vouchsafed, the existing interest may never be renewed. A "more convenient season" may never come.
III. WITH PRACTICAL FAITH. "Howbeit certain men clave unto him," etc. These two names suggest — That Christianity is alike suited to both sexes. Let the woman stand as the representative of the intuitional power, and the man as the logical. Or let the woman stand as the representative of those who have to attend to the more private and domestic duties, and the man as the representative of those who have to be out in the open world — in the field, the market, the shop, the senate house — battling with difficulties. Christianity is great enough for the greatest, and simple enough for the simplest. Conclusion: From the whole we may learn —(1) That the gospel is moral in its influence upon the world. It does not bear man down by violence and force.(2) That the gospel is not to be restricted to any class.(3) That ministers should not despair for want of success. Though some deride and some procrastinate, some will believe.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
So Paul departed from among them.
I. HAVING CONSIDERABLY ALTERED ITS SPIRITUAL CONDITION.
1. He left it a new stimulus to thought. He gave to their understandings a new theory of the universe, a new method to happiness, a new manifestation of God.
2. He increased its responsibility. Responsibility is measured by privileges. Athens had been highly favoured; but Paul gave more of the Divine in thought to them than all their philosophers. O Athens, better a thousand times that Paul had never entered thee than that thou shouldst fail in the new-imposed responsibility!
II. WITH A HEIGHTENED ESTIMATE OF CHRISTIANITY. The apostle made a great experiment in taking the gospel to Athens. He had undoubtedly heard about their great sages, and was perhaps acquainted with their systems of thought. He had no doubt received a deep impression of the inventiveness, energy, and aesthetics of their intellect in the architecture and statuary of their city. How will such men, he may have asked, regard the tale I have to tell them of Jesus of Nazareth? But after his sermon on Mars' Hill, all these misgivings would give place to an unbounded confidence in the glory of his message. Christianity has been tested by every school of philosophy, every grade of intellect, and by every system of religion, and it has always come forth the triumphant power. How unbounded, therefore, should be our confidence!
III. NEVER PERHAPS TO VISIT IT ANY MORE. There is something very affecting in a parting of this kind. It was affecting to see Moses leaving Pharaoh to meet him no more until the judgment; the young lawyer leaving Christ, going away sorrowful; and now Paul leaving Athens. Though he would not return to them again —
1. He had discharged his conscience, and was clear of their blood.
2. He would be engaged in the diffusion of the gospel. He was off to Corinth, and thence on, for his gospel was a gospel for humanity.
3. Though he would not return to them again, he would anticipate meeting them at the retribution. He had told them of a day of judgment, and on that day he would meet them.
(D. Thomas, D. D.).
LinksActs 17:32 NIV
Acts 17:32 NLT
Acts 17:32 ESV
Acts 17:32 NASB
Acts 17:32 KJV
Acts 17:32 Bible Apps
Acts 17:32 Parallel
Acts 17:32 Biblia Paralela
Acts 17:32 Chinese Bible
Acts 17:32 French Bible
Acts 17:32 German Bible
Acts 17:32 Commentaries