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Jesus said in John 13: 35, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” A great New Testament example of this being done is in the early church. As Jews began to put their faith in Christ as the Messiah, they began to feel the effects of hostility toward them. They were ostracized from their families; basically they were considered to be dead.


In the movie, Fiddler on the Roof, tradition was very important. The tradition was that a matchmaker paired up men and women for marriage. The oldest daughter fell in love with a different Jewish man who was very Orthodox. The father gave his permission. The second daughter fell in love with a man who was a radical Jew, still Jewish, but with some modern ideas. Going against tradition they were not seeking the father’s permission to marry, just his blessing. He gave both. The third daughter fell in love with a man who was not a Jew, and the father would not give his permission, nor his blessing, and disowned the daughter when she married, even considering her dead.


This is the way it would have been for the early believers who had been Jews. They were kicked out of their families. Since most of them would have been involved in a family agricultural or merchant business, their livelihood would have been gone, so they needed the basic things of life: food, shelter, clothing. In Acts 4 we see that the believers loved one another so much they wanted to serve one another, and did so by giving financially—even selling their own land to give to those in need.

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