A rag tag group from the backwaters of the Roman empire, many who are ordinary, unschooled, without position or power, follow the crucified son of a carpenter from Nazareth. This group, and those who came after them, would so influence the Roman world that they even got the attention of Emperors. Throughout the centuries millions or perhaps billions have chosen to join them, and society at large (particularly in the West) has been significantly impacted by the life of and teachings of their founder, Jesus.
Humanly speaking, how did this happen?
How did Christianity survive, let alone thrive?
It could be argued that the followers of Jesus lived such stunningly different lives that the world around couldn’t help but take notice.
Right from the start this was distinctive of the church. The early church was marked by sacrificial acts of kindness. They loved their enemies and forgave their persecutors. They cared for the poor and fed the hungry. In the brutality of life under Roman rule, they even faced persecution and death with such fortitude (and in cases joy), that people were drawn to this community.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5: 17)
The character of the community, and the lives those early Christians lived was a testimony to the change that a relationship with God could bring about. This is not to say they were perfect. Christians of every generation have made mistakes, but they were changed. They were people of faith, hope and love (1 Thessalonians 1: 3).
That is how God changes the world. One transformed life after another. Each one with the potential to raise an awareness of Him.