Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Tens and Hundreds (13) - Restored by Jesus

Jesus first step when he began his ministry was to form a Ten.

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him. These are the twelve he appointed (Mark 3:13-16).
By the time of Pentecost, the new church had become a Hundred.
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) (Acts 1:14-15)
When the church expanded quickly, they continued to share in tends and hundreds.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts (Acts 2:46).
The early church undertook many of the roles that were undertaken by Tens and Hundred in Moses’ time.

1. Welfare – the church provided support to people who fell into poverty.
  • The Christians who met together in their homes also shared their financial resources.
    Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need (Acts 2:45).

  • Deacons developed new methods for caring for the poor (Acts 6:1-7).

2. Defence – the church provided protection for their community.
  • The religious and political leaders in Jerusalem were extremely hostile to the new church that was emerging. The Christians protected themselves by sticking together.
    All the believers were together (Acts 2:44)
    While they were together, the authorities could not touch them.

  • When Peter was arrested, the believers went into bat for him.
    So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him (Acts 12:5).
    They used spiritual weapons and an angel released Peter. He returned to house of Mary the mother of Mark.

3. Justice – the new church implemented in biblical justice.
  • The Book of Acts records the effects.

    There were no needy persons among them (Acts 4:34).
    The Greek word translated as “needy” is “endees”. It is not the usual word for “poverty” and is only used once in the New Testament. It is a compound of the word “bind”. Luke seems to be saying that no one bound by injustice was among them.

  • These early Christians were not in a position to not deal with individual injustices that had left some people destitute and others wealthy. They resolved these problems with overwhelming generosity.

  • Many of the new Christian sold property and gave it away.
    All who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold (Acts 4:34).
    The word “possessor” is interesting. Luke used a noun formed from the Greek word “ktamomai”, which means acquire, or procure. In Luke 18:12 this word was used to describe the wealth the tax collector had acquired.

    Luke also used the word “ktema” which comes from the same root (Acts 2:45; 6:3). This is the word used to describe the property of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:22).

    Luke did not use the normal word for “inheritance”. The early Christians were not giving away their inheritance, they were giving away property that they had received by other means. Some may have been gained fairly, while some would have been acquired by injustice. Some of those giving their property away will take this action because they believed that it was acquired unjustly.

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