Friday, November 21, 2008

Homothumadon: Jesus, Fired up!

Acts 4 is a great scene in the early church.  In the chapter prior, Peter & John were on the way to pray and end up healing a 40-year old crippled beggar.   Peter turns it into and evangelistic event so the Sadducees arrested them but the number of believers blossomed to about 5000.   So Peter & John are brought before the high priest and his whole family.  Peter filled with the Holy Spirit gives a rocking testimony of who did the real healing – Jesus: the one you crucified but rose again, the rejected stone that is now the Cornerstone, and the only one under heaven of whom salvation is found.   They threatened them and tell them to stop speaking in Jesus’ name and of course the P & J have now of that, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God for we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

But the part that intrigues me is what happens when P & J go back to their team and give a report.  Luke writes that when the church heard this “they raised their voices together in prayer to God.”  The prayer is an awesome one of acknowledging that our Lord and Creator is calling the shots.  And the supplication is simply for God to consider the threats and enable them, His servants, to speak the gospel with great boldness and to continue to display His power through

 the name of Jesus.

The Greek word that is translated here in the NIV ‘together’ is homothumadon.  It shows up several places in Acts: the 120 were gathered in homothumadon Acts 1:14; after Pentecost the 3000 continued daily homothumadon in the temple and homes – Acts 2:46; the church ; used to met homothumadon in Solomon’s Portico – Acts 5:12; and the council homothumadon choose some men to send with Paul & Barnabas to Gentile believers – Acts 15:25.

Eugene Peterson writes that “of one mind” or “together” or “of one accord” all seems too tame.  Homothumadon is a compound word.  Homo means the same.  The don on the end signifies that it’s an adverb.   But the middle thumas is a word surging with energy.  By itself it means ‘flying off the handle’, ‘losing your temper’, ‘going ballistic’.  In the context of this movement of young believers there is nothing negative in it, no malice, no revenge, no violence.  Instead the energy is love, peace, community, unity, with one voice, a oneness in spirit and purpose.  It’s a unanimous response of a large group of individuals with different gifts and ideas from the soul based on what God has done and who He is.  It’s not just some byproduct of playing nice or walking through steps of resolving conflict.  It’s a holy passion.  It’s the fire of the Spirit.  It’s Jesus, fired up!

In Acts 4, when threatened the early church could have cowered in fear or just decided to be nice little compliant Christians content with their holy huddle.  Come on 5000!  That’s a lot to be satisfied with why rock the boat?  Instead there is this wonderful powerful harmony, this homothumadon fueled by the fire of the Holy Spirit that calls them to cry out in one voice that God rules and to plead with Him not to take away the threat but it give them as His servants boldness and power to declare and display the gospel in the midst of the persecution.    They didn’t resort to trying to overthrow the status quo.  They didn’t grumble.  They didn’t loose heart.  They didn’t cower.  They humbly asked that the gospel not be tamed because God cannot be tamed. 

That’s what unity is.  That’s the kind of power the world has rarely seen. That’s a power that launches transformational movements that can’t be stopped.  That’s what being united in spirit and purpose can do.  That’s Jesus, fired up!

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