I am troubled. In my Bible studies, it is not often my emotions are bent to the melancholy. I am currently trying to comprehend the Church as it existed between Pentecost and the end of the century. It is often characterized as the Apostolic age. The sadness comes from the fate of the Hebrew Church. The very nature of the church in this age was inextricably tied to the faith of Israel. For the years after Pentecost the church was a sect, a part, a division of Judaism. What took my usually flatline mood was ultimate fate of the church that Jesus came to establish. “First to the Jew” as Jesus said, did not come to a great revival of the Son’s of Abraham. The church to which Jesus came to change never really happened. The Church for the Hebrews, for all intents and purposes simply did not make it.
There was always a remnant and even today there are bits and pieces of the Hebrew church. But for the most part, it is a gentile church. For many in the first century and beyond, Jewish followers of Jesus did not form a different functioning religion. They lived in Judea and the Galilee, and as long as the Temple stood, they participated in its rites.
These chosen people of God who proclaimed Jesus as messiah were ostracized by their own families, their community, and ultimately by the church as it moved to a primarily gentile emphasis. The dual identity of the earliest followers of Jesus became the also rans of Christianity. Seen as a threat to the established religion of Judaism and seen as an part of an anachronism in its death watch.
I read of some of the second generation of Christian leaders proclaiming those who believe in the Messiah Jesus and still practice Hebrew customs as an absurdity. I find a sense of intolerance in the church as it transitions across the century line which could well have contributed to the death of the Hebrew Church.
What could have happened if the church stayed within the arms of the Mother of Judaism, we will never know. Could God’s design have been furthered by the incorporation of the traditions and customs of the Chosen people?
Why am I sad? I would suppose, it is the could of, should of, would of world of conjecture. How much could the rich culture have added to the church’s beliefs of today? Hence sadness.