The message of Jesus Christ has always been viewed as subversive to other religions. This was the case for the early church, as well. Thing is, Jesus Christ is not a religion. There are no ‘works’ I can perform to stand before a perfect and righteous God that will make me righteous. My faith is 100% in the shed blood of our risen King Jesus. When I stand before God one day, He will see the blood of Christ! That is freedom. I am not bound by any religion set forth by man nor any labels. The label of ‘Christian’ has been butchered. I hope you read to the bottom if you got this far.
Reading the Book of Acts and listening to a few commentaries today:
Paul goes and announces Jesus as the revelation of the one true God and as the King of the world who shows up all other gods and idols as powerless and futile. His message is consistently viewed as subversive to the Roman way of life and he gets accused of being a dangerous social revolutionary.
These stories show how the multi-ethnic, monotheistic Jesus communities did not fit into any cultural boxes known to the Roman Empire. The ancient world had just never seen anything like them!
(This all sounds awfully familiar to what many believers will and are going through presently! 𝐓𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭: 𝐖𝐞 𝐝𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐟𝐢𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐛𝐨𝐱𝐞𝐬! Blows people’s minds. Even other so-called followers of Christ, aka ‘Christians’. I say this all in love. It's all very true. Often, we are persecuted by our own brethren the most.)
The early Christians aroused more than just suspicions….another theme Luke repeats in the Book of Acts is how Paul and the other followers of Christ are constantly being accused of rebellion (Acts 17, 18). Even treason against Caesar, the Roman Emperor! People heard Paul correctly: He WAS announcing that there is another King… Jesus!
They also correctly saw that the Christian way of life was a challenge to many Roman cultural values. But every time Paul gets arrested and interrogated before the Roman officials, they do not see any threat and he is dismissed.
These stories show us the paradox that the early church presented to the world. Ethnically diverse communities that treated men and women, rich and poor, and slave and free – all as equals. They all gave their allegiance to King Jesus alone and no other god or king. It simply just blew their minds. The same way it does today when we don't give allegiance to any other kings or gods.
The early followers of Christ's very existence turned upside down the core value of Roman culture, but followers of Christ posed no military threat because Jesus taught them to be people of peace.
𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐏𝐚𝐮𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐲 𝐂𝐡𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐬 𝐪𝐮𝐨!
People of peace. My fight is not conforming to the world. I am not a threat to you or anyone else in this world.
And when the enemy attacks and tells you how unworthy you are to represent Christ, remind him this: He which has begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of our death or His return. Whichever comes first.