When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject." At that, Paul left the Council.
Thoughts for Today:Many principles are difficult for non-believers to get past on the way to becoming Christians. For example -- the authenticity and authority of the Bible; the God-head (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); God becoming man in the person of Jesus Christ; etc. But the biggest of all is the resurrection of the dead. It, more than any other concept, causes people to sneer. I have often wondered why the resurrection of Jesus or just mentioning "resurrection of the dead" in general would cause that kind of a reaction. In our passage today, you will notice that Paul's talk ended right there, with mention of the resurrection. That's when members of the Areopagus interrupted Paul with sneers; although others wanted to hear more, just later.
I titled our devotion today the way I did because I believe that the resurrection is perhaps the greatest distinguishing mark between Christianity and any other religion or philosophy. Paul writes later in 1 Corinthians 15:12-14, "But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." The reason the resurrection causes such vastly different reactions in non-believers is because it forces an accounting of our lives to a higher power -- the ultimate judgment.
Therefore the resurrection forces us into one of two camps, either:
1. If this life is all there is (you live and then die); then what difference does it make how I live my life? Therefore I live only according to my own sense of right and wrong (morality, ethics, etc.), and there is no accounting.
2. Or, there is life after death (a resurrection), and everything changes. What I do, how I live my life, and what I believe in matters a lot because I will ultimately be judged upon it by a standard and authority greater than myself.
You can't be neutral on the resurrection. Either you believe in it or you don't. Both determine how we live the rest of our lives.
Questions to Ponder:Some hear of the resurrection and it brings joy to their heart and they want to hear more -- cheers; or it generates the opposite response, they stop listening completely -- sneers. Are you living your life as if you believe in the resurrection? What needs to change?