Part 25 – How Did The First Christian Live The Christian Life?
Jesus, while He was on the earth, lived the Christian Life a certain way. Must we live the life, differently than Jesus did? And if we live the Christian Life differently than He did, doesn’t that make us second class Christians, with a different set of rules, for living the Christian life?
Yet, that is what most Christians have been taught. Jesus lived the Christian life one way, we must live it another way.
Did Jesus live the Christian life by praying, reading His Bible, going to Church, witnessing, tithing, speaking in tongues, or believing a certain doctrine?
What about the first Christians? Did they live the Christian life differently than Jesus?
Mary Magdalene was the first person to meet the resurrected Christ.
(16) Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). (17) Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” (18) Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20:16-18, NIV).
Did she pray, read her bible, go to church, witness, and tithe?
Simon Peter the Apostle was the first to receive the Holy Spirit.
(21) Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (22) And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:21-22, NIV).
Did Peter pray, read his bible (church tradition says he couldn’t read), go to church (there was no church building to go to), witness, and tithe?
What about Jesus? How did He make it through the day?
Did Jesus Pray? … Yes, He prayed, but it was not the central issue in His life. The central issue of His life, was fellowship with the Father. And so He probably didn’t pray like we do.
Did Jesus read the Bible? He quoted it, but He also wrote it. He is the living Word; He spoke, and others recorded HIS words.
(16) He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. (17) The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: (18) “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, (19) to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Isaiah 61:1-2) (20) Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, (21) and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-21, NIV).
When Jesus stood up in the synagogue in Jerusalem, He read a portion of the Bible written by Isaiah, who was quoting Him!
Did Jesus Tithe? We don’t know if He tithed on a regular basis, but it certainly wasn’t His secret to living the Christian life.
Did Jesus go to Church? He went regularly to the synagogue, but the synagogue certainly isn’t the church. Strictly speaking, we can go to synagogue, but we cannot go to church. We can only BE the church. No one ever thought of the idea of “going” to church, until the third century.
Imagine Jesus as a ten year old, sitting in a stuffy, hot synagogue, either on the floor, or on a wooden bench, bored out his mind. And after two hours he goes outside, and says, “When I grow up, I’m going to start the church, and its meetings are going to be just like a synagogue service!”
Yet here’s the surprising truth. Jesus couldn’t live the Christian Life either!
Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself …” (John 5:19, NIV).
All day long, Jesus was not alone, He was in constant contact with His father. He was in constant fellowship with His father. Not even for one second, was He outside constant, conscious fellowship. His Father spoke to Him constantly, from within. Jesus didn’t speak, unless He was aware of His Father’s presence, and His Father’s internal speaking. Jesus had an indwelling Lord!
(20) Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, (21) nor will people say,’ Here it is,’ or’ There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21, NIV).
(Note: I am indebted to Gene Edwards for many of the concepts in this series.)
… Next time …. Part 26 – Who Was The First Person To Live The Christian Life?