Roman Empire

Blessings at the Back of the Line

“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we want you to do for us whatever we ask.’ ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked. They replied, ‘Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.’ ” – Mark 10:35-37 Whenever we study the Bible, it’s helpful to understand the cultural and historical context of the stories. Although we don’t always think about it, Jesus was living in what was perhaps the greatest and most powerful nation in human history. The Roman empire was the seat of world dominion and it was all about power, which was dictated from the top down. It was a place where people were vying for authority and where Caesar was in his lofty position only because he had an army. The Jews were living in the

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Love Lessons from an Ancient Civilization

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 4:3,4 We talked yesterday about showing radical mercy and what that looks like in our modern world. Today, I want to invite you to journey with me into how it played out in the First Century Church, amid the injustice of the Roman Empire.  In the ancient world, patricians, senators, and the wealthy were at the top of the heap. Everyone else fell into a class beneath them, with slaves being at the very bottom. Because there was so much inequality in that day, the Spirit of Jesus working through the Church took the culture by storm. Though their castes were different in the eyes of society, when they came together as brothers and sisters in

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A Prospering Soul

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 2 Years ago, Hannah and I had the privilege of receiving a private tour of the Holy Land led by a guy named Roni Winter. To us, he was like a Jewish Indiana Jones — he’s an archeologist and a historian — and he had an incredible amount of knowledge about the region. One day of our trip, he took us to some amazing ruins called Beit Shean. As we walked around what was once a thriving Roman city, he painted a picture of the immense beauty and grandeur that characterized this place when it was in its prime. Then, he looked at us and inquired, “Do you want to know why the Roman Empire fell?” and he said, “Follow me.”

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