Authority and the Emergence of the Jesus Movement

The third chapter of Acts begins with the story of Peter healing a crippled beggar. This good deed done in the name of Jesus Christ gives Peter the occasion to preach and teach about Jesus to his fellow Israelites, calling them to change their mind (repentance) about Jesus and be a part of this emerging Jesus movement.

Not all was well though. In chapter four, Acts tells us how this brought the ire of the temple rulers and the Sadducees and had Peter and John arrested. The following morning Peter and John are questioned by the high priest and other members of his family. But here is their question, “By what power or what name did you do this?”

That’s not the question I was expecting to be discussed by religious people. That’s because the issue isn’t about religion, theology, or biblical interpretation. This is about authority…power, control. Bock writes in his commentary, “The query makes clear that they, the leaders responsible for the temple, have not given the apostles the authority to act…” (Acts, 190). The problem is that the disciples are functioning by a different authority.

Well that got me thinking… Jesus was threat to the power establishments of his day and now his disciples, in this early Jesus movement, are also a threat to the power establishment (how’s that for some ecclesiology?).

That’s why this church we read about wasn’t just a church (=place of worship) as we tend to think of church today. It was a movement…the Jesus movement.

This challenges me and I think it should challenge the rest of us who swear allegiance to Jesus, as disciples.

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One response to “Authority and the Emergence of the Jesus Movement

  1. I remember when the Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me I could not lie on my tax forms to stay out of trouble with the IRS; the tax code is a tangled web of cockroaches, and every evil thing. I passed it by my pastor to make sure I was not being nutty; and my pastor confirmed the direction of the Holy Spirit. When I wrote about it in a Business Journal, I became a ‘threat’ to the Powers, and they did what they do.
    Yessir, we become a threat because we have a higher loyalty than the State. Lord have mercy. Jesus Christ is Lord. ….all who live Godly in Christ Jesus will…..

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