I live near the town of Haywards Heath in Sussex, England. One hundred and seventy five years ago it didn’t exist. It was just beautiful countryside between the villages of Cuckfield and Lindfield. But then the Victorian’s newfound love of the seaside led to the building of the London to Brighton railway – great news for the residents of the city, but unwelcome news for the villagers of Sussex, none of whom wanted this noisy, dirty, new-fangled form of transport anywhere near them. So the line was forced to run through the fields, and the station built as far as possible from nearby villages.
In a similar kind of way when God sent Jesus, as the new means of transport from earth to heaven, the welcome was less than rapturous. Dismayed by this unwelcome innovation, both religious and secular authorities were quick to declare, “Not in my back yard!” and did all they could for decades to remove Him and His followers to the margins of society.
But like the railway the means of transport that Jesus provided soon caught on, and both in their time became an indispensible part of the fabric of society. From about 200 people the railway has led to Hayward Heath’s present and growing population of 26,000. Likewise the church that began with twelve now numbers over two billion and continues to grow.