Jesus and the Early Church


(6 x 26-77)


1. Peter

St Peter's Basilica in Rome is the centre of the Roman Catholic faith. But the man who it is named after, knew nothing but fishing for the first part of his life. Following the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter became a missionary of the Christian Church. From the shores of the Sea of Galilee to the might of Rome, Peter became one of the young churches first missionaries.

2. Timothy and Titus

Timothy and Titus travelled with the Apostle Paul as he took the Gospel message to villages. Paul's letters to Timothy are ones of encouragement as he ministered to the church in Corinth - a city known for its immorality. Paul's message to Timothy was to set the believers an example by right living and right teaching. Ministers needed to be spiritually fit in order to be effective in ministry.

3. James and Jude

James and Jude were the brothers of Jesus, who like Jesus, grew up in their father's carpenters shop in Nazareth. It was only after Jesus' death and resurrection that they became his followers, with James heading up the Jerusalem Church. Each of them wrote letters to the believers with James encouraging them to do good deeds as well as believe.

4. The Hebrews

Although the author of the letter to the Hebrews is not certain, it was sent to Jewish Christians who were suffering for their faith. Persecutions in Jerusalem led them to flee to Rome, but the persecutions continued there. With Nero blaming them for the fire that destroyed Rome, Christians worshipped in secret in the Roman catacombs. The letter continues to encourage believers.

5. John

John was called by Jesus from the shores of the Sea of Galilee to come and follow him. For 3 years he was one of the inner-band of disciples, witnessing the transfiguration. After the death of Jesus, he was first at the tomb to discover that Jesus had risen. He became leader of the church at Ephesus where he wrote the Gospel of John. In the mines of Patmos, he had a wonderful vision of God.

6. Stephen the Martyr

Although conquered by Rome militarily, Greek culture was dominant in the first century. The Jews were divided between those who accepted Greek culture and those who didn't. Stephen was a member of the Hellenist group and was one of the early Christians. He was seen as a threat by his fellow Jews and was stoned to death after he claimed to see Jesus at the right hand of God in a vision.