They "... explained to him the way of God more accurately ..."
"... if he found any who were of the Way,
whether men or women,
he might bring them bound to Jerusalem ..."
How did this name, The Way, come about? The obvious answer to Believers is "Because Jesus is The Way" (John 14'6). He is the One who preached, taught and lived God's Kingdom life.
He preached of the reality of the Kingdom of God and He also demonstrated it. After the Father had sent the Holy Spirit the new Believers began to do the same and were described accordingly.
They were like their Lord, expressing the Kingdom to the world (and to the powers of darkness!). Also, like Jesus, their desire was to glorify their heavenly Father.
The Good News spread out from Jerusalem. And these men and women who had begun following Jesus were described as people "of the Way".
As far as the Kingdom of God on earth is concerned, He showed Himself as the example of being its first citizen.
THE WAY WAS ON THE WAY
Men and women of many nations heard this two-fold Good News of the things of the Lord Jesus Christ and the things of the Kingdom of God.
And the Kingdom scriptures of Acts 2'1 to Revelation 3'22 show much about them:
* Saul (later to be called Paul) "went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem," Acts 9'1-2.
* "This man (Apollos) had been instructed in the way of the Lord ... though he knew only the immersion of John ...
When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately," Acts 18'25-26.
* "But when some (Jews in Ephesus) were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he (Paul) departed from them," Acts 19'9.
* "And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way," Acts 19'23. (This was a Gentile disturbance in Ephesus.)
* "I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women," Acts 22'4.
* "But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers," Acts 24'14. (Paul before the Governor in Caesarea.)
* "But when Felix heard these things, having more accurate knowledge of the Way, he adjourned the proceedings," Acts 24'22. (Paul before Felix in Caesarea.)
* "And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed," 2 Peter 2'2.
So strong was their expression of Christ and the Kingdom that at one stage they were accused of preaching "another king," Acts 17'7.
Which is really not surprising. Even the Jewish leaders noticed that the first Believers were manifesting the ways of the One called The Way:
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.
And they realized that they had been with Jesus," Acts 4'13.
As Peter said:
"... His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises,
that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust," 2 Peter 1'3-4.
Their Kingdom lifestyle marked them out by:
the way they lived,
the way they treated each other,
the way they treated outsiders,
the way they treated strangers,
the way of their general manner of speech - and more.
THE WAY & GOD'S INTENT
In addition to revealing that Jesus had been glorified and the coming of the Holy Spirit, something began on the Day of Pentecost.
Ephesians 3'10-12 says, all that was achieved by Jesus was:
"... to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God
might be made known by Christ's Called-Out People
to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
according to the eternal purpose
which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord".
Jesus had led the way. He manifested God's manifold wisdom. And the principalities and powers could not comprehend it (John 1'5).
Now, through the Lord's People living the Christ-Kingdom life, the enemy would be fully informed of God's wisdom!
Could the Kingdom of God be regarded as a culture? Or The Way be regarded as a culture?
From time to time someone preaches about "Kingdom Culture" or the "culture of the Kingdom". Are these descriptions valid? After all, a culture is a lifestyle.
The Way differs from cultures in that it arises out of thanksgiving and not out of obedience to man-made traditions.
However, the people of the Way do express the Kingdom of their heavenly Father. And, by the Holy Spirit, they learn the ways of Christ in worship of the Father.
Nevertheless, new Believers may benefit from being like children growing up in a culture because their young lives involve:
- Looking around and absorbing the scriptures, particularly the Christ-centred Kingdom scriptures of Acts 2'1 to Revelation 3'22..
- Observing the lifestyle and behaviour of godly men and women (Philippians 3'17), especially the Elders and their Wives (Hebrews 13'7-8).
- Experiencing the elementary foundational principles of Christ (Hebrews 6'1-3).
Prayer. Thank you, heavenly Father, for the understandings of Christ, your Kingdom and The People of The Way.
In Jesus' name. Amen.