‘for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.’
Acts of the Apostles 17:23
In the 6th century B.C., the ancient Greek experienced a destructive plague and after sacrificing to every god they found no relief. The Athenians called a priest from Cyrus who told them the only deity who possessed the power to abate the pague was a god unknown to them. After some discussions they found few premises that must be true about this god, based on given facts:
- He must be good and gracious, because what king of god would help people who did not know his name.
- He must be benevolent enough to overlook their error.
They did what the print asked and offered a sacrifice to this “unknown god” and the plague was finished. Then the Greeks created an monument to this nameless god.
Five centuries later, Paul arrives in Athens and makes the connection between a story they knew well and the message of the gospel. The god they did not know, is the God we believe and serve.
In every culture there is signs of God’s fingerprints. Sometimes we try to preach a message without making any connections to the local culture or the stories of God revealing himself to those people. When we find out how God is moving in people’s lives and help them to realize that God was always there for them, the message of the gospel becomes much more clear and personal.
Father, once you were an unknown God to me, but thank you that you came all the way to rescue me and let me know more about you everyday. Help me to understand and see how you are moving in people’s lives so your Holy Spirit can guide me to share the gospel more clear to others. In Jesus name I pray.