The way, not a way… this is what the Apostle John quoted Jesus as saying in John 14: 6.
As anyone who has read any of my fiction series will know, I spent a great deal of time in the gospel of John. It is the setting for the first of the books in the series, but not the only source of information about the 1st century AD. To be honest, the whole New Testament, and some of the Old Testament gave clues as to the life of the people.
So, before writing another book on life on oxygen, or introducing you to two young boys from the 600 BCs, I thought I would have a reprise of ‘the Way.’
The Apostolic Age
The 1st century AD is now classified as ‘the Apostolic age’ for rather obvious reasons. The apostles were at work fulfilling the commission Jesus gave them. However, littered through that 1st century are deaths and martyrdoms as well as the spreading of the gospel.
I have read many scholarly articles which attempt to explain the miracles, the healings, the life and the work of Jesus Christ. However, this is all from the point of ‘us’ looking back with the eyes of the century we live in, and the understanding and culture we inhabit.
Let’s have a look at the times through the writings of the Apostles.
The book of Acts mentions ‘the Way’ as an established fact. The Apostle Paul, in the days he was Saul, the terrorist of the followers of Christ, hated them with the zeal he would later have for spreading the gospel.
“Saul kept breathing out threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus. The letters authorized Saul, if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, to bring them bound to Jerusalem.”
Acts 9: 1, 2 ESV
So the early believers were either calling themselves ‘the Way’ or were known by others as followers of the Way.
The Way they lived?
I remember when my children were young I would take them to church on a Sunday morning. After services we would come home and I would catch up with my household chores. (I was a working lone parent.)
No doubt there would be washing to do, as well as cooking, planning for the week’s meals and fixing things, perhaps washing the car. These were chores that did not fit into the day of a working mother.
The early Christians however, were Sabbath keepers. All their chores, which did not include washing cars <smile> were completed by sunset on the Friday evening and the Sabbath was observed until sunset on Saturday.
“The Book of Acts reports that the early followers continued daily Temple attendance and traditional Jewish home prayer. Other passages in the New Testament gospels reflect a similar observance of traditional Jewish piety such as fasting, reverence for the Torah and observance of Jewish holy days.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_the_1st_century under the section Beliefs and Practices.
The rest of the week
To live by the ‘two great commandments’ Jesus cited, meant they kept the ‘ten.’ What they believed governed their lives. And, because most would not break the 1st commandment, many were martyred.
In the words of a reader who reviewed the books of the Apostle John Series…
”Like me, you might be struck by the contrast between the early church and our current mode of religious worship. I can’t help but think we’ve lost much in the way of hope, faith, and love over the past two thousand years.”
(You will not find any of this man’s reviews on the Amazon site… for some strange, unknown reason they fell afoul of Amazon’s algorithms and this was one of many that were deleted.)
Christianity is the way we live, just as ‘church’ is the people, not the building. In this increasingly busy world it is difficult to hold fast to the simple faith of the early Christians.
Although the way is narrow, often difficult to see much less keep plodding on, it is not impossible though,