The Early Christians Were Protesters
The earliest believers who followed Jesus were protesters. Yes, that's right, protesters. What did they happen to be protesting? Empire and what it means to be human (no small thing, right?). The way they went about doing this was with—it might be a new word for you—but it's called "THE GOSPEL", yes that's correct the gospel. The word gospel literally means "good news", I am not lying (Google it). So what was the good news (gospel) and what in the heck does this have to do with protesting? Well, let me get there, geez you people are so impatient (thank you technology for creating discontentment). In the first century, the word gospel was used prior to Christians stealing this phrase and applying it to their movement, yes that's right, the earliest protesters were okay with plagiarism, or something like that (maybe not plagiarism exactly). In the Roman Empire, the gospel meant Caesar was Lord, Lord of Rome/Empire and with this gospel declaration it meant whatever Caesar says goes. I mean really goes or you might find yourself on a cross being eaten by birds (nasty images—horror movie material, yikes).
When the earliest christians went into the cities announcing their gospel about Jesus, those listening would have been curious as to what these ambassadors for Jesus would have been saying (no wonder Paul was always getting into trouble for this gospel message and dragged out of cities or arrested). How naive were these Christians and how dare they announce a new gospel in light of knowing Caesar was lord of empire? But this is exactly what the earliest Christians did when they decided to announce Jesus was Lord (not lord like the english kings—I guess you can get away with that) and Messiah (Messiah means anointed one—which carries over the Hebrew meaning of Messiah—Google it) in their letters (check Romans—unless it's changed, but I am sure he mentions all this).
The reason the earliest Christians seem to have faced rejection by their fellow citizens was because of the message they announced and with this new message came new lifestyles that matched the words on their lips "Jesus is Lord," while rejecting their former lifestyles that did not match Caesar is Lord. The Christians had a hard time living in the empire, years later the Jesus people literally faced lions because of it (literally not joking); hmmmmm.... I wonder how they would view some of us in today's world? Just a thought... At the end of the day, the gospel is a protest against the abusive powers that exist in the world, it's against human corruption in all its forms (I do not need to get all poetic as I typically would, explaining what these bad habits are), because the gospel says, be transformed like king Jesus—the most amazing human (my opinion and God's! now repent! ha) to have lived on this earth. That's pretty cool!
P.S. This literally is not a subtle message about being destructive protesters who destroy people's property—there are better ways to peacefully demonstrate core beliefs (which have been demonstrated by thousands across America recently). More importantly, I think the earliest believers demonstrated the risen Jesus by how they chose to live (lifestyles), which had to do with social justice (taking care of their widows, poor, etc—the social gospel is not the gospel—yeah. okay—next. Sorry for my sarcasm). Thought I'd clarify this—so as not to get stones thrown at me....
Written by Casey Dayton