The group addressed by Peter was a fictive family kinship group brought together by their common beliefs as proclaimed by Jesus and his disciples. As seen in the Gospels, the foundations of God’s new family began when Jesus started preaching about the Kingdom of God – which the Mediterranean world would have seen as a new theocratic political structure. When Jesus’ followers responded to Jesus’ call to take up the cross and follow, their response was not an individualistic action; it was taken as a member of a dyadic community. When they denied themselves, it meant they denied their previous kinship group and formed a new group as the family of God. Under Jesus, the initial insular thrust of these new “kinship” groupings focused only on the Jews of Galilee and Judea. Malina supports this argument, as he writes that the believers’ commitment to their fictive family and their close following of Jesus’ teaching provides a good picture of the early church.
After the resurrection and Jesus’ command to make disciples of the entire world (Matt 28) came a new innovative expansion of the fictive family to the Jews beyond the borders of Judea and Galilee. But even that was not the final innovation: the believers’ fictive family continued to expand to include Gentiles which opened the entire population of the Roman Empire as a mission field. Led by the Holy Spirit, the community of believers began to disperse and expand into new geographical locations. During this time, through teaching such as Peter’s and the work of the Holy Spirit, the community of God expanded to form communities with the potential power and influence necessary to become a global social and religious force. God Himself, through the work of the Holy Spirit, changed these groups into a “fictive kinship religion expressed as a ‘household of faith’ (Gal. 6:10).”
Giving your heart to others by listening to their heart
When you grow a leader who values people you help the whole world