SoT #49 – Followers of Jesus

The church of Christ came into existence in a kind of natural way.  It was the followers of Jesus, who after He was no longer with them, began meeting together.  Initially there may well have been the need to deal with fears, and to bolster each other in the face of opposition.  After all, their master, hero, and teacher, had been executed as a common criminal.  Were they safe?

They also met together to remember their Lord, and to pray.  They believed Jesus to be God’s anointed Messiah, and so this took top priority.  Christ had also instructed them to wait for the Holy Spirit He promised to send.  That waiting took the form of praying and remembering. In a sense every Sunday worship was a celebration of the resurrection. In that process a strong bond must have begun to form.

In addition they were bound together by an assignment that Christ had given them; which was to spread the good news of God’s love and to invite others to become disciples/followers of Jesus.

So the pressure of opposition, the assignment from Jesus, the advent of the Holy Spirit, and a felt need to remember and worship this Messiah, formed them into a body.  They existed for Christ, but also for each other.

It should be noted that they did not reject their religious traditions, nor spurn the temple.  Jesus had taught that He had come to fulfill the law, not destroy it. They had a sense of being called to something more.

These followers of Jesus met together regularly to retell the Jesus story and experience.  They celebrated this Jesus who was the Christ.  They remembered by observing the simple bread and wine meal Jesus had introduced.  They celebrated by meeting to study and pray, and share meals.

At Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came with tongues of fire, many people had been drawn to this group, this faith.  As they continued to celebrate Jesus, to tell of God’s grace, more people were attracted to this group.  Here they found a deeper meaning to life, and a new joy and freedom.  Love and sharing what one had drew people to this group who confessed Jesus, recently crucified, resurrected by God, alive for evermore.

These early believers became followers of the Way, later called Christians.[Acts 9:2; 11:26]

Jesus binds people together and brings in a new freedom.

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