Divine Summons

Divine Summons 16


A Mustard Seed Revolution Begins

When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

(Acts 1:12-14)

The Apostolic Burden

Apostolic leaders are theoretically unhirable. They are already locked into an unbreakable contract with God. They answer to Him alone.  Even if they were hirable, most churches will find them undesirable anyways.  They aren’t easily tamed and don’t work very well under structured leadership.  They are wired for the open road, and operating in their sweet spot when surrounded by a small band of like-minded visionaries chasing the same dream.

Apostolic leadership is often therefore a very lonely road to walk as well.  Apostles often feel quite literally married to the vision, trapped in an arrangement, and required to carry the weight of the vision alone on their shoulders until God either releases them or brings others into the mix to share the load.

Revolutionary Christians — for that’s what we would come to call ourselves — have always had a mixed relationship with the religious establishment.  Our founder Jesus was crucified for not abiding by the established religious rules and customs.  Paul was harassed by the religious leaders in every town he visited, often barely escaping with his life.

In Pisidian Antioch we’re told that, “They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region” (Acts 13:50).

At Iconium “the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. . . . The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. There was a plot afoot among the Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. But they found out about it and fled” (Acts 14).

Then at Lystra “some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead” (Acts 14:19-2).

After preaching in the synagogue in Thessalonica, “Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city” (Acts 17:1-5).

They scurried on down to Berea. “When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast” (Acts 17:13-14).

Being part of the early Jesus-movement was no leisurely walk in the park.  It was a revolution, and people took notice.

Categories: Divine Summons

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