Three Reactions to the Gospel

When Paul spoke before a group of philosophers in Athens, he brought a message that was unlike anything they had heard before. As Luke tells us, Paul’s preaching of the gospel produced three different reactions (Acts 17:32-34).

1. “Some began to sneer.” They thought Paul’s message was ludicrous—particularly the message of Jesus’ resurrection. To some people, the gospel of Christ is foolishness (1 Corin­thians 1:18,23). They can only respond with mockery and insults. Christian, when you try to teach the gospel, you can expect some folks to give you funny looks, laugh at you, or just dismiss you with a wave of the hand. Don’t be ashamed.

2. “Others said, ‘We shall hear you again concerning this.’” Did they really want time to think over Paul’s words and perhaps learn more? Or was this a polite lie to get him out of their hair? We just don’t know. Christian, when you try to teach the gospel, some people will show a little bit of interest and say, “I want to hear more later.” Sometimes that “later” doesn’t come until much later. Sometimes it never comes at all. Don’t be discouraged.

3. “But some joined him and believed.” And so will some to­day. Christian, be patient and persistent in teaching them. Don’t give up.