Bible Verse: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42)
Scripture Reading: Acts 2:1-47
Our story continues as Jesus miraculously ascends to heaven. The resurrected King returns victorious and is now seated at the right hand of God his Father. Before leaving, however, Jesus commands his disciples to wait together until God’s Spirit comes and launches them into their new mission, transforming their hearts and lives. Things are about to go into overdrive.
So they gather together to pray in Jerusalem, the center of their world as they know it, during a special Jewish celebration. They are brimming with anticipation for what God is going to do next through them. They do not have to wait long. The Spirit of God comes on their lives. God’s power and presence is in them and ready to launch them into their new mission. They feel joy. They feel loved to the core. They feel ready to take on the world. The city is filled with international Jews who are attending the festivities, and the message of Christ is amazingly proclaimed to these people in their native languages. What a great way to welcome all nations into a new community with God.
Most of the writings that we have today from the first-century church come from the life and teachings of Paul, a true irreligious revolutionary. They chronicle how he and his companions take on the entire religious establishment in the name of Jesus. Every form of religion gets targeted by this revolution, whether legalistic, ritualistic, magical, philosophical, or political. It is a revolution that will call humanity back from the exile of religion into a home built around a loving, unified community.
Within this first generation, the movement slowly spreads across the Roman Empire. People gather in homes on a weekly basis to share life as a family. They rally together in public settings, in rented halls, and even in religious gathering places. They invite everyone, including spiritual seekers and religious adherents, to hear the incredible news about an irreligious way to live as a friend of God.
The Roman Empire had established its own version of peace, called the “Pax Romana,” or Roman Peace. It brought peace by crushing kingdoms and forcing people to bow down to its emperor-god. It is not hard to see how talk of a new kingdom whose highest allegiance is to God got the attention of local rulers and governors.
In all of this, Christ-followers remained steadfast in their conviction, despite being reviled, tortured, and even put to death at times. They served a risen King. They carried the message of hope for the planet. They found new equality among themselves, one not based on gender, race, or social status. They awaited the return of their King, when all things will be restored. The power of God’s Spirit was in them and nothing could stop them. They had an undying love for God and for all people, and so they wanted everyone and anyone to hear the message.
— Tim Day in God Enters Stage Left
Copyright © 2013 by Tim Day
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