When we read of people like Moses, Abraham, David – and many other ‘heroes’ of the Bible – they didn’t have the Bible.
They were writing it!
So too, with the writers of the New Testament… Peter, James, John, Paul and the others. They didn’t have the New Testament. They spread the gospel by teaching from the Old Testament. They had the words written by the people in the Old Testament.
They were writing what would become the New Testament.
As regular readers know, I have spent a lot of time in the 1st century AD in the last few years. No, I am not delusaional and think I can time travel *smile* – but I have done a great deal of research in order to make the series I have been, and still am writing, as true to the time as possible.
What I discovered led me off on tangents, and I looked at the lives of men and women that are considered ‘faithful’.
Why were they faithful?
Was it easier for them to be faithful and obedient than for us with all the pressures we have?
I don’t think so.
They walked everywhere, they had no phones, no Internet, not even snail mail. (They either walked and delivered the message themselves, or sent a messenger.)
Their obedience was remarkable – well, considering the world we live in now it seems bred into people to disobey, to refuse and object. (Road rage; violent protests, and mass murders.)
Abraham, (Abram at the time) whom most commentators suggest was a rich man in a prosperous city, obeyed…
“The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”
(And that was just the beginning!)
This was reiterated in Acts 7: 3 when Stephen addressed the Sanhedrin.
This resulted in Stephen being stoned. (Rocks were thrown at him till he died.)
What about Moses? Brought up in Pharaoh’s court, possible successor to Pharaoh, and after some complications which resulted in him living as a shepherd, brought back to challenge the current Pharaoh – and lead the tribes of Israel through the wilderness. That task was a lot more difficult that looking after sheep!
I haven’t mentioned Jesus yet. He came into the world to be our Passover Lamb. No matter how difficult the lives of any of those before or after Him – or our lives seem, nothing could compare with what He went through. We often gloss over His life, thinking – well, He was the Son of God, He had the Holy Spirit in full measure. But I think He must have had far more temptation than we have ever had to endure, more loneliness, and more opportunities to be offended… but He remained faithful and completed His task.
After Him, many of the Christians in the 1st century AD were put to death, cruelly, for their faith.
How could they do it? Pay the cost.
They had a relationship with God.
They lived what they believed every day, and that was not easy.
The featured image for this post is the Ten Commandments – because I was thinking of Moses.
How many of us know the ‘10’. And if you are one of the many people who believe that Jesus did away with them, and gave us the ‘2’. Those two summarize the ten.
How much obedience is in our lives? Where do we fail? (And we all do to some degree.)
The Christians of the 1st century AD didn’t call themselves Christian.
They called themselves followers of the Way. (No doubt because it was a way of life, not a religion.)
Followers of the Way – “and [Saul who became Paul] asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem,” Acts 9:2
“Kenneth Samuel Wuest holds that all three original New Testament verses’ usages reflect a derisive element in the term Christian to refer to followers of Christ who did not acknowledge the emperor of Rome. The city of Antioch, where someone gave them the name Christians, had a reputation for coming up with such nicknames.”
Even today, Christian people pay for their beliefs with their lives. Is the reward worth it?
Millions of believers have paid, and are paying, the cost because they believe it is!
To quote the book of Joshua…
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Joshua 24: 15
Just thinking again
I am experimenting with my Reader’s Circle Newsletter. This list is open to a few readers and fans. I invite you to sign up for the monthly newsletter. It contains interesting research tidbits I found while researching Hold the Faith and other books in the series. There are links in the newsletters to download the free PDFs.
The link to the sign-up is below. It would be great if you joined me.