Cultural Encounters In Acts Essay

827 words - 4 pages

“And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This statement, spoken by Jesus at the beginning of the book of Acts is indicative of what was to follow. Indeed the Acts of the Apostles, believed to be penned by Luke the Evangelist, documented the beginning of the Christian religion and its dispersion out from Jerusalem (). But when it came to bringing the message out of Jerusalem and to the Gentiles, someone was needed to bridge the gap between the Jewish and Roman worlds. The apostle Paul of Tarsus did just that. Over the course of three missionary journeys, Paul was able to pick up where Peter and other apostles left off in Jerusalem by spreading the word of the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire; and this was greatly abetted by his birthright both as a Jew and a Roman citizen.
Before Paul traversed the Roman Empire on his three missionary journeys, the apostles mostly centred their preaching in Jerusalem. They spoke their message almost exclusively to the Jews and it was not until Peter received a vision from God in Acts 10 that they began to have considerable interactions with the Gentiles. In fact it can be said that in its earliest days, Christianity was merely another Jewish sect (). Early Christians kept together and worshipped at the same temple as their Jewish neighbours (Acts 2:44-46). In the beginning, they were well-received by the common Jewish people and there were many who converted. This was largely due to the miracles performed by the apostles and in the book of Acts it was written that “all the people had high regard for them” (Acts 5: 13). It was this popularity that shielded early Christians from Jewish elders. Perhaps the best example of this is in Acts 3 when the apostles Peter and John healed a crippled beggar. Using the interest such an act garnered from the crowd, they began to preach about their beliefs. Following a confrontation with priests, a captain of the Temple guard and some Sadducees, they were brought before the council of elders. Although the elders wanted to punish the apostles to keep them from spreading their religious propaganda, they were prevented from it in fear of inciting a riot from the crowd who were still rejoicing over the healed beggar (Acts 4: 1-22). This attitude towards...

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