GOSPEL MEDITATIONS FOR
THE CONTEMPLATION OF GOD:
Gospel Meditations are both biblically and theologically intense and complex—they are not for everyone. For those who are beginners in the Faith, these might be difficult to grasp. The discipline of examining Scripture and internalizing it requires some spiritual maturity. So then, if at first the going is rough, keep at it and grow in your understanding of both the Bible and theology, while we ask the Holy Spirit to do a “deep” work in us.
So I invite us all to meditate upon, reflect on, contemplate, and consider afresh the Word and Work of our Triune God. Each Gospel meditation will center on a passage of Scripture, and a method of reflection will be outlined each week. Perhaps early in the morning we may rise up and seek Him, as David did, and rejoice at the wonder and beauty of God our Savior.
GOSPEL MEDITATION 13:
"Jesus will judge the world"
16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
Paul Addresses the Areopagus
22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for
“ ‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
29 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
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. (ESV)
- 1. Find a place where you can be alone and apart.
2. Be comfortably alert, being still and at peace.
3. Say the Lord’s Prayer.
4. Sing the Jesus Prayer.
5. Pray for family, friends, and yourself.
6. Slowly and carefully read the passage.
7. Reread it.
8. 2nd missionary journal, Paul arrives alone in Athens.
9. Polytheistic world view, some took seriously, others did not.
10. A culture rich in every way, advanced is so many ways, and yet…
11. Paul is not intimidated by Athens, at that point, headed into decay, yet the experience may have produced some stress in the great apostle.
12. Paul was culturally relevant--playing off the people's religious ideas.
13. He essentially attacks their complete world view, in the shadow of the Parthenon on the Acropolis that served as a shine to Athena, Paul announces there is one God, the creator of all, and that the shrines to the gods and goddesses is error.
14. Speaking boldly, Paul talks about judgment and the resurrection of the one appointed to judge through that person's resurrection.
15. As typical of that day and this, some mocked and others wanted to hear more, indeed, there were some who were converted.
16. It is often said that Paul's sermon was a failure--few converts--what do you think?
17. Being quiet now, seek God in the secret places.