Just like a social media personality going viral, Jesus eventually became a “must see” figure for all of Israel. His ministry was slower to start out, but he quickly became a celebrity of sorts. This largest season of his ministry, often referred to as Jesus’ year of popularity, would see him surrounded by masses of people seeking to hear him teach and see him perform miracles. Of course, anybody that became as popular as Jesus did, delivering a message that stood in contrast to the traditional religious message of the day, was also going to attract the attention of the influential and powerful. Jesus’ popularity would bring people of every sort to interact with him, consider his message, and respond accordingly.
I have always equated the book of Judges with the American portrayal, in film and television, of the Old West. Laws were few, wars and violence were constant, new settlers struggled against established natives, and heroes would rise from the ranks of the common people. In this period of Israel’s history, there was little unity; no king or central government. The twelve tribes existed as a confederacy, each tending to its own territory, enemies, and issues. The stories that emerge from this period of time are full of lessons on leadership, perseverance, faith, and charisma. But they are also full of lessons on greed, vengeance, selfishness, and failure. The careful reader can learn just as much from the bad examples as the good.
The Book of Acts provides a unique picture of what is now a global community of faith in its very infant stages. The people were passionate and brave at times, disorganized and confused at others. But in these texts, along with many descriptions and instructions from the writings of Paul, we can see the many underlying principles that made the earliest Church so successful. Join us for this 3 week series as we investigate some of these qualities from 2,000 years ago, and consider how we can continue to apply them to our own church setting today.