And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts -Acts 2:46
They still went to Temple.
Though changed forever by what they had seen and experienced at Pentecost and by the Resurrection, they continued together both in the greater community of which they were a part, and also the newer tight community that they had as the church. They went to Temple on Saturday and probably met in homes on Sunday to have church.
As recipients of His grace and disciples of Jesus, they had not yet been scattered. Remaining in Jerusalem and taking part in the cultural activities therein they were well-placed as witnesses to the Gospel, at least as they knew it thus far.
Later, we would see the church scattering under persecution as they were sent out to fulfill the Great Commission: Go and make disciples of all nations … and so they did. Later they would find out that sacrifice was no longer needed. Soon the Holy Spirit would testify to Peter, Paul, and others that Jesus was the final sacrifice. Soon the Temple would be destroyed. But until they knew this, and knew it by the Holy Spirit, they went to Temple. Until they were cast-out, they remained.
What were the temples in your life when you first came to believe in Jesus? Did you continue to go? Who did you hang out with before you knew Jesus? Did you take your new-found faith to them? Or did you leave it all behind in order to save yourself?
Did you scatter too soon? Before the persecution came? Or did you hang in there as a witness?
I ask these questions because I believe that too often we try and change the surroundings of our non-believing friends rather than letting them stay and be a witness to those they are in community with. We want to make them the objects, the shiny trophies of our ministries instead of the subjects of ministry, staying and impacting their communities before being sent out to others. We should be moving them out, not pulling them in.
Should a Muslim, having seen the need for Jesus and believing on him, give up his heritage altogether immediately? Or should he be a good Muslim, going to the mosque and praying and telling other Muslims who will listen that the now loves Jesus, while meeting also with other believers for church? Shouldn’t he also go to his “temple” just as the new believers did to theirs just after the day of Pentecost?
I know many who read this will react by saying that it’s different, that the Jews were following Jehovah while the Muslims follow Allah, and you are right. But I still believe that we are to bloom where we are planted. The opportunity to contextualize is greatest when we are still in context.
What are your thoughts?
One thought on “Bloom Where You Are Planted”
I really appreciate these questions and am challenged by them.
I know someone who does this really well — not only did this man learn the local language and marry a native Thai, but he also eats whatever is given to him (a rare thing for a “farang”/foreigner) and meets people wherever they are at, even if that means bringing Jesus to them at the (Buddhist) temples or celebrations.
It’s tempting to not want to “go there” — to the places where spirits are worshipped more than the Spirit of God, wherever they are — but this is a good reminder that, just like Christ tabernacled among us, we need to not just invite people to come to Jesus but to go and bring Jesus to where we — and people — already are…