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There are similarities between the first century cultural context of Christianity and today. The challenges faced by the first century followers of “The Way” and today’s diverse landscape before those following the current “Way” included being identified as counter- cultural and intolerant. The term “The Way” was meant to be a negative accusation. It referred to Jesus’ claim when He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” Found in our Bibles today at John 14:6. As followers of the Way, first century believers refused to worship the Emperor as a god. They were therefore also labelled as atheists. The Roman government was not happy with Christians. Even the title “Christian” would be a sneering insult in the eyes of the culture of the time. All of this is no surprise. Today the Emperor has been replaced with Secular Humanism. The rules of cultural engagement now deny absolutes, except as it relates to absolute tolerance. The worst, and most feared label is that of “bigot”, which by definition merely identifies those in this category as intolerant of opposing views. It is therefore often a bigot, being intolerant of the intolerant, who accuses another of being a bigot, So how do those of the “Way” deal with this? Keep on loving God, and keep on loving people, including those who may oppose. There is no viable alternative. Jesus even said specifically to do that. But He also instructed to stand firm on the truth. The same message of redemption and of God’s love for the world remains in place. It hasn’t changed. Share the pure message of forgiveness from sins and new life found in Christ alone. Understand that they hated Jesus first, and don’t be surprised if everyone isn’t excited about His message today either. Proclaim Jesus Christ and tolerate the tension.

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