Text: Acts 17:12-34
To know the God Revealed
To trust that Jesus shows God’s will to you
For those who do not know God
AS PAUL STANDS ON THE Areopagus (the Hill of Ares/Mars Hill), he notes the many altars, compliments his listeners on their religious piety, and then makes his rhetorical move: the true God, whom you say is unknown/unknowable, has made himself known in the man Jesus Christ….and the rest, they say, is history.
The idea of the Unknown God has been a standard part of Western philosophy ever since the Greeks started the game. So that we don’t get into deep water, let’s just say that the Unknown God is one side of a coin, the other side being human ignorance. We have a divine spark, and it’s our ignorance, our lack of knowledge that keeps us down. The purpose of human existence is to find that knowledge, to learn how to reunite that divine spark within you with the roaring fire that is God.
Martin Luther railed against this idea, as he believed it infected Christian theology and distorted what was the real problem: it isn’t that we don’t know God, it’s that we don’t trust God. We are estranged; our distance from God isn’t intellectual but relational. Luther said that it isn’t that God is unknown; it’s more that God is absent. This is what Jesus experiences on the cross: the Son, who has always known the Father’s favor, who has always had the Father’s ear, who has always enjoyed the Father’s intimacy is now abandoned.
It is this estrangement that Jesus heals. In Jesus God is revealed; he is no longer absent, but is now present to be known as loving, as trustworthy, as good
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
no merit of my own I claim,
but solely lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness hides his lovely face
I rest on his unfailing grace.
In every high and stormy gale
my anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ the solid rock I stand!
All other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks