What This Means for Us: First-Century Power Players, Part 10

To help you better understand the historical-cultural context of the Acts of Faith series (The Centurion’s Wife, The Hidden Flame, and The Damascus Way), I’d like to introduce you to the primary Judean authorities at the early part of Acts. This is Part 10 of 10.

What This Means for Us

Our Lord was absolute master of the universal message. What he said to these groups two thousand years ago has equal and profound importance to us today.

The hunger for the Lord’s return is as real today as it was twenty-one centuries ago. Yet Jesus based his Kingdom message around one simple fact: Our hope is found not in yearning for an other-worldly tomorrow but in drawing near today.

Jesus acknowledges that of course we long for his return. Yet his teachings on the kingdom of heaven relate to God’s presence in the here and now. Jesus sought to realign the disciples’ attention away from two false expectations: First, that God’s Son would overthrow their oppressors with sword and bloodshed, and second, that the Kingdom’s arrival was to be a future event. Jesus repeatedly instructs his followers to focus upon drawing nearer to God now.

The reason for this is starkly simple. Tomorrow never comes.

When Jesus began his ministry there was a great passion for the end times. They were oppressed. They were servants and slaves and beggars in their own land. They did not control their destiny. Their masters were godless, scornful, oppressive, cruel, uncaring. The times Daniel described and Isaiah predicted had to be drawing near.

Yet when the answer came in the form of the living Savior, he overturned their doctrine with the same force as he did the Sadducees’ money carts. Do not concern yourself with the timing of future divine events. Forget these discussions about tomorrow. Stop obsessing over future signs. Because the Kingdom is here. The Kingdom is now.

By setting our sights upon some future day, some distant hour when the heavens split open and all our problems vanish in the blink of a divine eye, we miss a vital point. Jesus wants us to find him where we are. In the dust of this hard road, he is. In the pain of earthly existence, he dwells. His kingdom is now.

By seeking an intimate walk with Jesus through his Holy Spirit, by seeking the kingdom in this very hour, we open ourselves to a festival moment.

Our quest should be to find him in the here and the now.

Not tomorrow.

Not when our pain is gone.

Not when life is easy.


Here are links to each of the books in the Acts of Faith Series. I believe it will enhance your understanding of first-century power players to read the novels as you work your way through this series.

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2 Responses to “What This Means for Us: First-Century Power Players, Part 10”

  1. Gary Gilmore says:

    I really loved this series. Thank you so much for drawing clear lines and pictures of the times of Jesus and relating it to our day. I love your conclusion about the kingdom being here and now. One caution I do have. I find that the church has lost her hope in the coming of the Lord. Yes, way too much is made of the end times. Yet, the church seems to have forgotten about the Lord’s coming and lives too much in the now. Paul talks about the crown of life that he will soon receive and adds, “and to all of those who love his appearing.” Again, in 1 Thess. 4:13-18 (which I read at every graveside because it is the only command we have as to comforting the bereaved) he tells us to remember that the Lord is coming. So there certainly must be a balance between the two. Again, I love your series and you marvelous conclusion.

    Three great teachings of Paul: salvation by faith (Romans), the mystery of the church (Ephesians), and the soon return of Christ (Thessalonians). The first to be forgotten was the coming of the Lord, the next was the mystery of the church, the last was salvation by faith. Thus the Dark Ages. At the end of the Dark Ages, the first to be restored was salvation by faith, the next the mystery of the church, and in this last day the soon coming of our Lord.

    I know you are not discounting that, and certainly believe it. And it certainly should not take precedence over our present life in the kingdom of God. But it certainly should make our now sweeter and our purpose stronger.

  2. […] The Sadducees and Jesus: First-Century Power Players, Part 8 What This Means for Us: First-Century Power Players, Part 10 […]

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