Oct 19, 2011

Aρειος Πάγος

Areopagus or Rock of Ares is a large rock near the base of the Acropolis of Athens.  The Areopagus functioned as a place of appeals for criminal and civil cases in the classical times and before that it was where high ranking public officials would meet, similar to a Senate.  
When we were in Athens last month, we went to the Acropolis of Athens and saw the Areopagus.  We didn't walk around on Areopagus, it was blazing hot and after 1.5 hours at the Acropolis the kids were pretty much done with the historic site and ready to find our cab driver who promised the car would be ready with the a/c full blast when we returned, but we were there, we saw it, and we walked the paths that so many important historical figures would have walked to get up there.
Of all the places that we have travelled I think I am most impressed that my sandals (ok comfortable walking shoes) walked where Paul walked in Athens.  The account is recorded in Acts 17:16-34.
"While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there".  Some philosophers began to debate with him, asking what he was babbling about and they decided to bring him to Areopagus.  There they asked him to explain what he was talking about.  The teaching was something they hadn't heard before.  There at Areopagus Paul stood before the people and proclaimed the Gospel "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being."
Paul was there, in the center of the philosophical world, proclaiming that God is the one true God and that all these temples and idols that have been built to honor pagan gods serve only as obstructions to seeing and knowing God.  Paul was there nearly 2000 years ago while those buildings at the Acropolis were still standing.  The buildings are now just piles of rubble and works of reconstruction by archaeologists but Paul's message still applies today.

1 comment:

Rachael said...

I am so jealous . . . and would have to agree that this has to be at the top of the list for travel coolness!