“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 hands (Acts 17:24)”
“And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else (Acts 17:25)”
“For in him we live and move and have our being…(Acts 17:28a)
When the apostle Paul visits Athens and speaks to some of the prominent people of that community, he shares with them his knowledge about what the Athenians were referring to as an “unknown God”. Athens had significant connections to Greek mythology and Greek gods. Athenians to Paul were highly religious. However, the gods they were worshiping all had connections with mythology or something “distant”. Paul used this opportunity to proclaim to them a God who was very real.
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples build by hands (Acts 17:24). Here Paul proclaims that our God is a God that does not just dwell in that which is made by human hands. This is good news, not just for the Athenians, but for us as well. For God is not just a creator God, but through Jesus Christ, God came to dwell among us. God is in fact very near to us.
And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else (Acts 17:25). For the Athenians, the gods they worshiped required them to offer sacrifices and do other things that would appease them. It was the actions and efforts of the people that allowed the gods to be present for them. However, the God Paul proclaims is a God that is not needing anything from us. While we may do many good works and acts, it is not about our works or efforts. God provides all things for us and desires us to offer our praise in response to what God has given to us – specifically the promise of eternal life and forgiveness.
For in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28a). These are profound words that Paul speaks to the Athenians and to us. We have our being because of God who created us. We are sustained by God’s provisions daily, and we have also been redeemed through Christ’s death and resurrection. Our lives become not about us but because of what God continues to do for us and through us.
The words Paul speaks are refreshing words that give us a fuller understanding of the God whom we serve and are called to worship. As we continue to hear these words, may we find hope, knowing that ultimately is not up to us regarding our lives. God created us for his glory. While God can operate on God’s own, God has granted us this opportunity to experience God’s kingdom. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have been redeemed and claimed again by God. We have been forgiven of our sins and granted the promise of eternal life.
In this Easter season, may we continue to proclaim the good news of these promises, embracing Paul’s words that in him we live and move and have our being.
Jesus Christ has Risen! Alleluia!!
Pastor Arlyn ><>