Cultural conflict

Paul’s negative impact on idol worship in Asia resulted in a serious cultural conflict in Ephesus where the temple of Diana was located. Demetrius, a silver smith that made his living selling silver shines for Diana “called together workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone in Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth” (Acts 19:25-27). Demetrius’ declaration that his means of getting rich was being ruined by Paul was the fuel that sparked the fire of a riot in Ephesus. It says in Acts 19:28-29, “when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.”

The theatre identifed in Acts 19:29 was located on the slope of Mt. Pion at the end of the Arcadian Way and could seat 25,000 people (Introduction to the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians, p. 1694). Paul’s friends in Ephesus encouraged him to stay away from the theatre (Acts 19:31), but apparently he didn’t head their warning (Acts 20:1). The climax of the event came when a man named Alexander was drawn out of the crowd and appointed a spokesman for the Jews. “And Alexander beckoned with his hand, and would have made his defense unto the people. But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians” (Acts 19:33-34). The chanting of the crowd must have been something like what you would hear today in a football stadium when the fans are cheering for their team. The fact that their shouting went on for two hours demonstrates the extreme devotion of Diana’s worshippers.

Even though the crowd appeared to be out of control, an important local official was able to stop the riot and regain control of the Ephesians’ unlawful assembly. His logic was based on the fact that Ephesus was secure in its religious practices. He asked, “what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly” (Acts 19:35-36). In his final exhortation to the people, the town clerk stated, “For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly” (Acts 19:40-41). Apparently, the Ephesians were rational thinkers that were able to see the foolishness of their actions. Paul left Ephesus immediately after this riot, but later returned there (Acts 20:17), shortly before he was arrested in Jerusalem and was taken to Rome for his trial.

Turning the world upside down

The effect of Paul’s second missionary journey was that an upheaval began to occur that started breaking apart the foundation of the Roman Empire. The Jewish leaders were concerned about Paul’s ministry because it was undermining their authority and the traditions they had established that were meant to keep the Jews dependent on the priests and Levites that controlled their religious system. While Paul was in Thessalonica preaching the gospel, it says in Acts 17:5-7, “the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Cesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.”

The accusation brought against Paul may have been an extreme exaggeration, but there was probably some truth to the statement that he was turning the world upside down. What was going on was very threatening to both the Jewish and Roman leaders because people were realizing they didn’t have to follow the examples they were being given. Paul told people there was another way to live their lives that would result in happiness, joy, and peace. In the background of what was happening was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies that had predicted the fall of the Roman Empire. Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2:37-44) outlined God’s plan of salvation and revealed that a series of world kingdoms would be established on Earth and eventually be destroyed when Jesus came and established his eternal kingdom. Referring to the image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream, Daniel said, “And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixt with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all the kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:42-44).

Isaiah also talked about a time when the world would be turned upside down in reference to the judgment for universal sin (Isaiah 24). Many people may have been fearful of Paul’s message because they knew it was a sign that God’s judgment was coming and understood that there would be no way for them to escape eternal punishment for their sins except through belief in Jesus Christ. The bottom line was the Jews didn’t want to repent, they wanted things to continue as they had been for hundreds, even thousands of years. The special treatment they had received from God had caused the majority of the Jews’ hearts to become hardened beyond repair.

Team building

Paul’s second missionary journey, which took place approximately A.D. 49-52, encompassed a much larger territory than his first expedition did. The initial purpose of Paul’s trip was to visit the believers in every city that he and Barnabas had previously preached the gospel in (Acts 15:36), but a conflict between Paul and Barnabas caused the two to go their separate ways. Luke’s description of the incident suggests that the leadership role had become an issue, and at that point, Paul was unwilling to follow Barnabas’ direction. Luke stated, “And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

The break up of Paul and Barnabas’ ministry partnership may have seemed like a problem at first, but it actually led to a much better outcome in the end. Because Mark was left behind, he joined up with Peter and eventually wrote the second book of the New Testament titled “The Gospel According to S. Mark.” It is likely that most, if not all of Mark’s factual data came directly from Peter who was a member of Jesus’ inner circle of friends, as well as, the primary leader of the church located in Jerusalem. Paul’s selection of Silas to travel with him may have been the reason why his second trip was much more aggressive than his first, covering approximately twice the amount of territory than his first missionary journey did (Paul’s Second Missionary Journey, p. 1588). When Paul and Silas arrived in Lystra, they were joined by Timothy, “the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium” (Acts:16:1-2).

The fourth person to join Paul’s missionary team was the author of the book of Acts, Luke. The transition in the language from they to we suggests that Luke joined Paul’s team in Troas. It says in Acts 16:8-10, “And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.” Timothy and Luke were key members of Paul’s missionary team that stayed with him throughout the rest of his life. The final book Paul wrote, 2 Timothy was addressed to “my dearly beloved son” (2 Timothy 1:2) indicating Paul and Timothy developed a very close personal relationship. In that book, which was written while Paul was in prison waiting to be executed, Paul said, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11), suggesting Luke was not only Paul’s partner in ministry, but a faithful companion until his death.

Persecution

The rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem reached a point where the number of people joined together couldn’t be counted. Luke simply said, “And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women” (Acts 5:14). The growth of the church in Jerusalem was so expeditious that word of what was going on there began to spill over into neighboring cities. Luke recorded that “there came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one” (Acts 5:16). The scene probably resembled the early days of Jesus’ ministry. After he was rejected in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus went to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, where he cast out demons and Luke reported, “the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about” (Luke 4:37).

Along with the rapid growth of the church, came the persecution that Jesus experienced when he was on Earth. Peter’s boldness in preaching the message of Jesus’ resurrection against their warning upset the religious leaders and made them intent on stopping his ministry. When they were found preaching in the temple after their escape from prison, Jesus’ disciples were asked, “Did not we straitly command you that you should not teach in this name? and behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood on us. then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:28-29). Peter and the other apostles’ bold declaration that their allegiance belonged only to God stirred up the wrath of the religious leaders that were questioning them. Their emphatic statement that, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree” (Acts 5: 30) made it obvious that the apostles intended to work in direct opposition to the religious authority they were being challenged by.

Luke reported that when the religious leaders heard Peter and the other apostles’ declaration of independence, “they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them” (Acts 5:33). Although the apostles were only physically beaten and then released (Acts 5:40-41), the atmosphere in Jerusalem most likely returned to one of hostility and resentment toward Jesus. A more pronounced situation of conflict arose within the church and Luke said, “there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration” (Acts 6:1). As a result of this conflict, seven men were identified to oversee the activities of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 6:3). Among those chosen, was a man named Stephen (Acts 6:5). Luke said, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people” (Acts 6:8). Because of his immediate fame, Stephen was falsely accused of speaking blasphemy and brought before a religious council to be judged. False witnesses that testified against Stephen, stated, “For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered to us” (Acts 6:12-14).

Discipline

The rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem after Peter began preaching the gospel made it especially vulnerable to chaos and confusion. An unusual aspect of this large congregation was that they shared all their resources. It says in Acts 4:32, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things in common.” Based on the number of reported conversions (Acts 2:41, 4:4), there may have been as many as 10,000 believers joined together in a communal living situation. Luke’s notation that the believers were “of one heart and one soul” meant that they were united spiritually. There was an inner connection that made these believers think and act as if they were a single entity, something the Apostle Paul referred to as “the body of Christ” (Romans 7:4).

Even though the believers in Jerusalem shared an unusual experience of intimate fellowship, they were not free from conflict or relationship problems. Luke reported an incident where a couple tried to deceive people into thinking they were joined with everyone else, but were actually living a lie. It says in Acts 4:34-5:4:

Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need…But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

The pressure to conform to everyone else’s standard may have made Ananias and his wife Sapphira vulnerable to Satan’s influence. Although there was no expectation for this couple to cooperate with the collection of resources, they seemed to feel it was necessary for them to sell their property and at least pretend to give all their money away.

The discipline that was used to correct the situation may have been perceived to be a harsh judgment from God, but it’s likely that is was necessary to correct the situation in such a way that it would send a strong message to those that wanted to take advantage of the generosity of others that God wasn’t going to allow his church to be corrupted by Satan’s influence. After Peter exposed Ananias’ lie, it says in Acts 5:5, “And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.”

Not God

The Jewish religious leaders did everything they could to make it seem as though Jesus was not God. One of the ways the Pharisees tried to discredit him was to say that Jesus performed miracles by the power of the devil (Matthew 12:24). In one of Jesus’ final confrontations with these men, it says in Matthew 21:23, “when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?” The reason they asked Jesus these questions was because they thought he would disclose his identity and they could arrested for claiming to be God. Instead, Jesus answered them:

“I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Matthew 21:24-27, ESV)

The chief priests and elders unwillingness to acknowledge the authenticity of John’s baptism suggests that their claim that Jesus was not God had nothing to do with their belief, but it was merely a means for them to get rid of him. Jesus used the parable of the husbandmen to point out that the religious leaders were intent on killing him (Matthew 21:33-39). In his parable, Jesus said after the husbandmen had beaten and killed the householder’s servants, “Last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance” (Matthew 21:37-38). Afterward, Jesus declared:

“Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” (Matthew 21:42-44, ESV)

Luke recorded in his gospel that the religious leaders wanted to arrest Jesus immediately after hearing this. He said, “And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them” (Luke 20:19). Based on Luke’s statement, it seems unlikely that the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus because they believed he was not God. At this point, they probably wanted to kill him because they knew that he was.

Ambition

James and John were one of two sets of brothers that were included in Jesus’ twelve member exclusive team of evangelists. Jesus told these men, “in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28). James and John were often singled out and given special privileges such as witnessing Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17:1) and the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:37). In his list of the twelve apostles, Mark said of these two men, “And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; (and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:). The name Boanerges could also be translated sons of commotion (G993), but in its original form, the word Jesus used stood for violent anger or rage (H7266). It is likely that James and John had a reputation for losing their tempers and may have been raised in a home where violence was used to discipline them.

One of the few incidents of conflict among Jesus’ twelve apostles is recorded in Mark 9:33-34 where it says, “And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.” James and John took this conflict one step farther when they approached Jesus and asked him to give them the seats next to his in his throne room (Mark 10:37). James and John’s ambition appeared to be driven by a desire to be equal with Jesus (Mark 10:38-39). Jesus told them, “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup. and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, in not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared by my Father” (Matthew 20:23). The Greek word translated prepared, hetoimazo (het-oy-mad´-zo) means to prepare or make ready (G2090). Hetoimazo refers to those things which are ordained by God, such as future positions of authority.

Jesus told his disciples, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). The word Jesus used that is translated prepare in this verse is also hetoimazo. The Greek word translated place, topos suggests that Jesus is building his kingdom based on our prayers or requests for occupancy in a particular spot that might be available (G5117). In this sense, you could say that Jesus is currently taking reservations and assigning spots to believers inside his Father’s house. James and John’s request may not have been all that unreasonable, but it was determined that their ambition to be seated next to Jesus was not at his discretion. Jesus revealed that the top spots in his kingdom were reserved for God’s elect and said, “whosoever will be great among you let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).

The Greek word translated minister in the phrase “let him be your minister” (Matthew 20:26) is diakonos (dee-ak´-on-os). Diakonos refers to “an attendant that is (generally) a waiter (at a table or in other menial duties)” (G1249). This term is used specifically in reference to a Christian teacher or pastor who is technically supposed to be a deacon or deaconess. Jesus identified himself as a minister and stated the purpose of his service was to “give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). In other words, the job Jesus was assigned by his Father was to die for the sins of the world. This was the position God prepared for him and the reason Jesus would be located at the head of the table or in the top spot in God’s eternal kingdom. When Jesus asked James and John, “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Matthew 20:22), he may have been asking them if they were willing to make the same kind of sacrifice that he was expected to. When they responded, “We are able” (Matthew 20:22) James and John were basically volunteering to become martyrs.

The lost sheep

Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep was set in the context of an argument that was going on between his disciples about who was the greatest among them. It is likely their argument was the result of an incident in which some of Jesus’ disciples were unable to cast out a demon because of their unbelief (Matthew 17:20). Perhaps, James and John who had just returned from a mountaintop experience in which Jesus was transfigured were taunting the other disciples because of their lack of spiritual experience or were boasting about having just seen Moses and Elijah with Jesus as his face shined like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light (Matthew 17:2). Jesus rebuked his disciples by setting a little child in the middle of them and saying, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

Jesus established that the first step in serving God was to be converted or renewed in one’s relationship with the LORD. Jesus’ disciples didn’t seem to understand that God wasn’t looking for miracle workers, but children that wanted to spend time with him. Jesus began his teaching about restored fellowship with the warning, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). The point Jesus was making was that a small child that was unable to do anything to impress God was so important to his Father that he kept himself constantly updated on their physical well-being and spiritual growth. Jesus then reminded his disciples, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:11).

The Greek word Jesus used to describe someone that was lost, apollumi (ap-ol’-loo-mee) is derived from two other words that depict separation and ruin, that is punishment by death (575/3639). Jesus was talking about someone that was going to hell for eternity, an eternal separation from God. After establishing his purpose and specific assignment from God, Jesus said, “How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? (Matthew 18:12). Jesus’ reference to going into the mountains may have been an indication that the lost sheep(s) he was referring to were the three disciples that were taken with him on the mountain to witness his transfiguration. The point being that James, John, and Peter were not more righteous than the other disciples, but more at risk of eternal damnation.

Jesus concluded his teaching about fellowship with an illustration of the benefit of working together with other believers rather than competing against them for God’s attention. He declared, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:19-20). The lesson that may have been hidden or tucked away within Jesus’ teaching about fellowship was the way that we are able to do more for God’s kingdom. Although two people agreeing about something may not seem like that difficult of a task, the argument between Jesus’ disciples about who was the greatest showed that they were at odds with each other and didn’t want to admit that they were all lost, separated from God and in need of a savior.

 

Conversion

Jesus told his disciples, “Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become like little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). The Greek word Jesus used that is translated converted in this verse, strepho (stref’-o) is typically translated as turn or turned. Strepho means “to turn quite around or reverse” (4762). At the time when Jesus spoke these words, there was a little child standing in the midst of his twelve apostles and they were discussing who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. What Jesus likely meant by becoming like little children was the reversal of his disciples spiritual development. He wanted them to start from the beginning and learn all over again what they knew about God.

Jesus said emphatically, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). The word humble had a specific connotation to God’s people because of their history as slaves in Egypt. The Greek word Jesus used, tapeinoo (tap-i-no’-o) is used figuratively to express humiliation and it suggests that he wanted his disciples to be willing to humiliate themselves in order to please God. Mark’s record of this conversation indicated a responsibility on the part of Jesus’ disciples to keep themselves from leading others into sin by way of their bad behavior (arguing about who was the greatest Mark 9:34). Jesus said, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believeth in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea” (Mark 9:42). This may have been a picture of the typical burial of a worthless servant.

Jesus’ lesson about true discipleship was an extension of his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) in which he warned against anger, adultery, and divorce. Jesus was intentionally reminding his disciples that the slightest infraction of the law was considered to be enough to bring judgment against an individual. Jesus said about the sin of adultery, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:28-29). Jesus’ repetition of this illustration (Matthew 18:9) of the drastic measures that needed to be taken in order to avoid sin in his lesson about true discipleship was no doubt meant to jolt his disciples back into reality and make them aware of the fact that their status in God’s kingdom was not based on spiritual accomplishments. Conversion, “turning back again to Him from whom sin has separated us” (7725) is a lifelong process that ultimately brings us to the conclusion that our only purpose as members of God’s kingdom while we are alive on earth is to preach the gospel to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 9:16).

Dispute resolution

In one of his rare private moments with his disciples, Jesus took it upon himself to settle a dispute among them that could have turned into a scandal if it was left unchecked. Jesus began by asking his disciples, “What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? Embarrassed by their petty argument, Mark tells us that no one answered, “But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest” (Mark 9:34). The Greek word translated greatest, meizon (mide’-zone) suggests that Jesus’ disciples were comparing themselves to each other based on their stature, importance, the reputation they had gained by their ability or more specifically, their achievements (3187). In other words, they were arguing amongst themselves about who was the best disciple. It is likely they were boasting about their accomplishments in order to show off and make each other jealous.

Jesus took this opportunity to sit down with his disciples and have a heart to heart talk with them. It was no doubt important to Jesus that he get everyone’s attention and made sure all of his disciples understood what he was about to say to them. Mark tells us, “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me” (Mark 9:36-37). The point Jesus was trying to make was that stature or importance was not based on their accomplishments.

Jesus went on to explain to his disciples that the most important thing in God’s kingdom was not their accomplishments of casting out devils or healing the sick, but their loyalty to one another. He said, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward” (Mark 9:41). The Greek word translated reward, misthos means pay for service or wages(3408). In other words, if you think about what we do for God as a job, the only thing we get paid for is what we do in the name of Jesus, for example, taking care of each others needs. Jesus clarified his statement by saying, we will not be rewarded for taking care of everyone’s needs, but only those that belong to Christ, the body of believers known as his church.