There was once a time when the world knew not of its Savior. Yet there was hope because it had been foretold that a child would be born and called Emmanuel – God is with us. In Lent, we prepare for his coming anew. During this season, we discover for ourselves the call of salvation and the promise of eternal life.
Where is God?
People have questioned the existence of God throughout time. As substitutes, they have instead shown reverence to cultural icons and worshipped them as gods. So it was when Paul commenced his missionary journey.
When Paul first started to teach, community leaders thought him to be irrational:
“The philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, ‘What does this babbler wish to say?’” (Acts of the Apostles 17:18)
But Paul pressed on in his faith and the philosophers and leaders became curious. They asked:
“May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.” (Acts 17:19 – 20)
Paul stood before them on the ledge of a prominent rock formation called Mars Hill. He observed their allegiance to idols:
“As I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’” (Acts 17:23)
To them, God was unknown. And because He was unknown, they exalted idols and made them objects of their affection and sources of community pride. But rather than being paragons of virtue, these false idols were inducements for conceit and arrogance. Paul recognized this and he called them out:
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything… we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.” (Acts 17:24 – 26, 29)
And then Paul told the people about God:
“Yet, He is actually not far from each one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, for we are indeed His offspring.” (Acts 17:27 – 28)
Some of the people scoffed at this and departed. Others stayed. To them, he told of the man God sent to the world to bring us salvation:
“He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)
This man God appointed is Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of the prophecy:
“Behold, a young woman is with child and he shall be called, Emmanuel – God is with us.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Through Jesus, God is known. And God is with us.
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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