Bible Society of South Africa
Neville Turley

God as the source of hope – Day 5

Hope for the world

Bible text(s)

7And so the word of God continued to spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem grew larger and larger, and a great number of priests accepted the faith.

Jerusalem was agog at the amazing news that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. That being so, the logical hope was that death was no longer final and the impact of this was felt far and wide.

The number of believers increased by leaps and bounds. Both Jews and Gentiles received the Holy Spirit and were baptised in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:47-48). It was at Antioch that believers first came to be described as Christians (Acts 11:26)

Flavius Josephus, a Pharisee and well-known Roman author and historian, was born in AD 37. He had this to say about the Christians: “Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was (the) Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared alive to them again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day” (The Antiquities of the Jews: Flavius Josephus).

“The tribe of Christians” continues to grow today. Christianity is now the largest religion in the world. According to Todd M Johnson and Peter F Crossing, in an article “Independent Christianity and Slum Dwellers”, there were almost 2,4 billion Christians in the world in 2013, comprising nearly one-third of the world’s population.

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