Following the miraculous birth of the Church at Pentecost, the body of Jewish believers in Israel grew in number and influence exponentially.
Acts 2:42-47 records: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Of course, it was the Holy Spirit that infused the Body of Messiah with the dynamism of that time. He was the driving force behind all that happened. We would do well to identify the characteristics that marked that community of believers as well. There is much we can learn. The Jesus followers in Jerusalem in the first days of the Church were…
Continually devoted to the Apostles’ teaching
Experiencing God’s presence
Seeing miracles occur through the Apostles
Selfless and generous
Of one mind
Living as a community
Praying and praising God
Favored by all the people of the city
It was Apostle’s first-hand training by Yeshua that provided the ever growing body of Messiah with the doctrinal foundation and practical examples of reproductive living. The book of Acts reveals what authentic discipleship looked like in the infant days of our faith. New birth is infectuously amazing!
One of the couples in our Sunday School class recently had a new baby. His name is Jack. Last week, our class leadership team enjoyed a great evening together in this lovely couple’s home. My wife is a baby magnet and she had Jack wrapped up in her arms most of the time. Walking past them at one point, I leaned over and kissed baby Jack on the head and held his hand. Then it hit me. Babies are so soft and I just love to touch them. Jack also smelled good (at that moment).
Be patient, there’s a point I’m trying to make. Almost everybody loves babies, even God! He seems to have loved caressing and blessing those new baby believers in Jerusalem. They had everything they needed to grow, mature, and reproduce. And they had more babies regularly. In fact, the Scriptures tell us new believers were born everyday. The sweet fragrance of God’s presence among them caused people to stop, reflect, and connect.
Is it possible that we are on the verge of something like the days recorded in the 2nd Chapter of Acts? From my vantage point, there seems to be a fresh wind blowing around the world. It is the wind of new birth. No where is this more evident than in the land where it all began… Israel. Every day, new Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua are advancing into all segments of their society.
One of the most exciting areas to watch them in action is also the source of great pride for all Israeli’s, the Israel Defense Forces. Young Jewish believers are serving their country and winning the respect of their companions and their commanders. Most of these soldiers are second generation believers, whose parents have suffered for their faith in ways that would surprise Christians around the world. Following their service to their country, many of these young men and women are preparing for a life of continuing service in Messiah to their people at Israel College of the Bible.
Located in Netanya, ICB recently purchased the property they now occupy. Over 100 Israeli Jewish and Arab believers attended class last semester. I have had the opportunity to visit the college several times over the last couple of years. It is an exciting place where the people are once again continually devoting themselves to the Apostles‘ teaching through the loving instruction of the faculty and staff of ICB. There are miraculous things happening once again in the land where heaven met earth. After almost 2,000 years, there is Good News flowing forth from Zion once again. Keep watching for more news from Israel College of the Bible right here at Disciple Daily. It is our prayer that believers everywhere will be awe and wonder by experiencing anew how God is blowing the fragrance of new birth in Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and throughout the rest of the world.