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Thursday, April 24, 2014

A New Power

"Many of those who heard the word came to believe and the number of men grew to about five thousand." Acts 4:4

When something is true, good and empowering, it grows. The primitive church, within days of Jesus' death, began to increase and grow strong. No doubt some worried at the time whether a cult was emerging, especially if they had not heard of Jesus before his death, but more were filled with hope because of what they were witnessing. Jesus was dead but his disciples were demonstrating a kind of power, grace and goodness that was electric and stimulating. Could their claims that the Messiah had come among them and was now raised from the dead be true?

Acts tells us that "about five thousand" people believed in Jesus soon after Pentecost. This was a remarkable number in a land where most people were poor and had more to do than follow a prophet who his disciples claimed had risen from the dead. Their message was clear and strong. God willed that all people be saved, and that a good life on earth was not the end. In fact, Jesus followers claimed that the traditional signs of success: a large family, property and good health, were not the ultimate signs of God's love and affirmation. Rather, God had created us, not to worry first about our daily bread, but to love one another in God's name, and if we did this consistently and unselfishly, the world would be a different and more peaceful place.

The message of Jesus, in today's jargon, went viral. Putting aside violence and competition for the sake of others and a peaceful world, made sense, and although it stumbled at times, its power and possibility excited those who were open to it, then and now.

Today, pray for a new energy among those committed to the Gospel.

What about the Good News excites you?

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