Believers in the early church in Acts were said to be “of the Way”. Saul, before his dramatic encounter with God, was persecuting followers of the way.
Acts 9:1-2 (WEBBE): 1But Saul, still breathing threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked for letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
If we Google the meaning of the word way in English, we see that there are two main meanings of the noun:
– A method, style, or manner of doing something; an optional or alternative form of action.
– A road, track, or path for travelling along.
So being a follower of a way either means actively doing something in a certain manner, or moving along a path to a particular destination.
I think both of these meanings are apt when describing the early believers. They were doing things in the manner that Jesus showed them, and they were on the road leading to heaven. But neither meaning includes being a passive observer that just reads about the Way every now and again.
Acts 3:1-8 (WEBBE): 1Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2A certain man who was lame from his mother’s womb was being carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask gifts for the needy of those who entered into the temple. 3Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive gifts for the needy. 4Peter, fastening his eyes on him, with John, said, “Look at us.” 5He listened to them, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have, that I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” 7He took him by the right hand and raised him up. Immediately his feet and his ankle bones received strength. 8Leaping up, he stood and began to walk. He entered with them into the temple, walking, leaping, and praising God.
The early believers saw many miracles happening, and yet that is rare today. What is the difference between then and now? The early followers of the Way acted!
Mark 16:17-18 (WEBBE): 17These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new languages; 18they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will in no way hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
If we believe that what God promises in the Bible is actually true, and act on it, we will see the same results!