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Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Imagine this! A man who lives in the land of Israel in the year AD 33 and he hears the word that there are good jobs in Jerusalem. Since he has no family, he makes a decision to load up what few goods he has on his donkey and head south. The country side has been in turmoil for the last two years, and he decides today was a good time for a new start.

Even though most of the people in the land are Jews, it is a “dog-eat-dog” society, with everyone looking out for themselves and family. He had seen Roman soldiers before, but had never seen so many in one place. The crowds either moved out of their way or got knocked down and ended up being hurt.

It was time to find a place to live for the streets were not safe, the stables charged too much for boarding his donkey, so it had to be sold immediately. The donkey brought a good price thus he didn’t feel too bad about letting him go.

He had never dreamed about so much activity in any city. With the Roman garrison stationed there with thousands of soldiers, the temple worship and sacrifices with all the attendants, and all the people, it was a mad house.

The city also had a bad smell because of all animals, people, sewage and rotting waste lying around. If you wanted a breath of fresh air you had to leave the city and head for the country, but who had time for that.

Since you have got to know our man you should know that his name is Samuel but we will call him Sam.

All new comers to the city were required to enroll and prove who they were, because at any time the soldiers might question you, which was often. Another thing that was new to Sam was the taxes, which he had never paid in the past.

Since he had little to do, Sam was talked into joining a group that was excited about some guy that had just been executed, and supposedly had come back to life. He liked these people because they were ecstatic, and each one had a thrilling story about how they knew this guy.

Over the next few days Sam was convinced to become one of the group, and to become a follower of this man they called Jesus. With them it was Jesus this, and Jesus that, so much so that you simply got a little tired of it.

Now it was time for one of the Jewish feasts called Pentecost, so as many as possible went to the temple for the ceremonies. A strange thing happened that day which changed Sam’s life forever, and the group grew from a few persons to literally thousands.

There were a few standout men and women who took over and seemed to run things as leaders.

Everybody pooled their money, and it was redistributed with equal shares among the people. This worked for awhile, but after a short time, the money was getting low, and the leaders were accused of playing favorites. The Jews from other areas claimed they were not getting their fair share, and refused to put any more money in the pot. The rich had given all their wealth and now they were poor. The poor were claiming they had the right to their share even though they had contributed nothing.

Those who had jobs and worked decided their families need to be cared for, and demanded that the so called poor would need to get a job, and take care of themselves. This didn’t set too well with the freeloaders, and they tried to quote Jesus words about loving each other, in order to put the working class on a guilt trip, however this was received very coldly.

Finally Sam had enough of all the politics, all the fighting and squabbling, and decided to return home, and help build a group in his home town; where each man would bear his own burden. He was overjoyed with his new found faith, and shared this experience with anyone who would listen.

There were perilous times ahead, but Sam and others had put all their trust in this man called Jesus.

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