Jesus said that at least part of his commission in coming into the world was to kindle a fire on the earth (Luke 12:49a). This was said in the context of his coming in judgment upon his disciples (Luke 12:22-48), and in the context of his own crucifixion (Luke 12:50) or judgment at the hands of men. The fire of which Jesus spoke was the fire of suffering (judgment), for some, it means being persecuted for righteousness. Jesus seems to say that this fire of judgment is already lit (Luke 12:49b; cf. 6:11; 11:53), in that he was already being persecuted (John 5:16), which would culminate in his own death. Moreover, if Jesus was persecuted, it follows that anyone who claims to be his disciple would also be persecuted (John 15:20; cf. Luke 12:45). Therefore, in his first epistle Peter sought to encourage the believers in Asia Minor, concerning their present condition and how that condition served God’s purpose, and, not only so, but he also shows that judgment would come to their persecutors.
Tag Archives: Jews of the Diaspora
One might expect, given the reason for Paul’s visit to Jerusalem was to bring an offering from the gentile churches scattered across Europe and Asia for the Judean poor, that he might have been received more cordially by the Jews in the Holy City, but this was definitely not the case. Moreover, all the blame cannot fall simply upon the unbelieving community. In fact, Luke hardly makes mention of the offering, pointing it out only in passing at Acts 24:17. Read the rest of this entry »
The eighth chapter of Acts begins with the persecution of the Church immediately following the death of Stephen in the fall of 34 CE. At this point in time, however, it would be wrong to assume the Church is an entity in itself in the same manner that it had become in the 2nd century CE. Rather all Messianic Jews were considered a part of Judaism, a faith made up of all Jews, whether or not one believed in Jesus as the Messiah. It is precisely because Stephen and the group of Messianic believers who settled in Jerusalem from the Diaspora were Jews that the leaders in Jerusalem had the authority to pursue them and bring them to Jerusalem for trial. Read the rest of this entry »