Ever watch an old Batman episode where Batman and Robin are climbing a building with a rope? Sure, you knew that they just turned the camera sideways to make it look like he was climbing a tall building, but it’s Batman so you just enjoy the nostalgia.
Usually, they fight the bad-guys and at some point in the episode Robin says, “Holy [something], Batman,” as he reflects on something amazing, large or formidable. When I read about the impact a group of believers in Macedonia had on the people around them, I feel like having a Robin moment.
A Lesson from 1 Thessalonians
In our Adult Bible Fellowships at church we have been studying through the book of 1 Thessalonians, observing how connected that church was with each other, even in the midst of trials. Their love for one another and for other people was powerful. How powerful? How about more powerful than carrier pigeons, text messaging, twitter, facebook, television or any of our other modern communication methods.
1 Thessalonians 1:6–10 — 6 You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. 9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
Paul is saying that the Thessalonians testimony of trusting Christ is not only an example to all Macedonia and Achaia, but the Word of the Lord has “sounded forth” throughout the whole area. In fact, so prevalent was the gospel transmitted to the surrounding area that Paul and his fellow ministers have “no need to say anything”.
That is powerful for two reasons. First, the sheer distance of communication at that time in history is remarkable. God is truly sending out the gospel to constantly bear fruit in all the world (Col 1:5-6). Secondly, the clarity and fidelity of the message itself. It wasn’t just an interesting story that trended around ancient world campfires, it was public testimony of the repentance of men and woman who have turned from idols to serve the living God and are waiting for Christ’s return and trusting in His work on the cross to rescue them from the wrath of God.
In other words, not only was the gospel transmitted far and wide, it was transmitted accurately. O how I pray that our love for one another, because of the Gospel, would send a powerful and accurate message to those around us. God is the living God in which we have the honor to serve by loving one another and all people (1 Thess. 3:12).
Holy Powerful God, Batman!!