The more I learn about the earliest followers of Jesus, the more I am challenged to consider what it means to live as a Christian today. The many accounts and letters in the New Testament certainly reveal the revolutionary behavior of the early Christian communities, but possibly even more stirring are the accounts of those who witnessed the early Christians living the Way of the Kingdom of God - a lifestyle so upside-down and contrary to the norm that pagans were both irritated and amazed.
Consider the following picture painted by Aristides, a philosopher around A.D. 125:
They walk in all humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them, and they lone one another. They despise not the widow, and grieve not the orphan. He that hath, distributeth liberally to him that hath not. If they see a stranger, they bring him under their roof, and rejoice over him, as it were their own brother: for they call themselves brethren, not after the flesh, but after the spirit and in God; but when one of their poor passes away from the world, and any of them sees him, then he provides for his burial according to his ability; and if they hear that any of their number is imprisoned or oppressed for the name of their Messiah, all of them provide for his needs, and if it is possible that he may be delivered, they deliver him. And if there is among them a man that is poor and needy, and they have not an abundance of necessaries, they fast two or three days that they may supply the needy with their necessary food.