Meditation for 08/28/2019
“Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: ‘We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.’” (Acts13:46)
At the risk of losing favor with fellow Christians, Paul and Barnabas still followed the higher plane of taking the gospel to all people. They understood that faith leads to eternal life, while rejecting Christ forfeits hope for eternal life.
The missionaries realized that salvation was “first for the Jew” but also for the Greeks or Gentiles (Romans 1:16). It is for all who will respond. Believes of all backgrounds honor God with their changed lives and experience God’s joy.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, it is not our decision who Your Word is to be presented to. The Gospel message is intended for all, including those who we might think are not ready to hear it. You have blessed us to take the message of salvation out into the world and to share it with those we know, those we do not know, and especially to those who we have never met. You loved us all, before the creation of this world. We are to show love to all, in spite of whether or not they are lovable or not. The message is the same for everyone, and intended for all. It is not our job or responsibility to make anyone do anything. It is our job as Christians, to love others as we have been loved. If they reject Christ, it is on their shoulders, not on ours. I pray this in Jesus, our Savior’s holy name. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Nails did not hold Jesus on the cross…His love for us did.”
“From one man he made every nations of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” (Acts17:26)
This verse has been used to defend racism on the grounds that certain ethnic groups should “go back to where they came from” or “stay where they belong.” The verse is part of the larger context of Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill dealing with the sovereignty of God. Thus, the primary discussion is God-centered or theological and not man-centered or anthropological. Rather than supporting God-ordained racial superiority, this verse portrays the encompassing love of God for all people. From creation onward we share common characteristics as members of God’s created family. Creation joins us together rather than separates us. When reading the Bible, beloved, you must keep everything within its context, and not make parts or portions of Scripture to justify your position on any position. Remember that we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, and souls, and to love one another. You cannot do this, if you use Scripture to positions of hatred and bias.
Christian Ethics, Race Relations: (John4:1-43)
No social barrier is too extreme for the gospel message to cross. The Samaritan woman was an outcast to Jewish society on at least two counts: mixed ethnic lineage and and unacceptable marital situation. Jesus demonstrated by His actions, however, that each person has worth. Social or racial standing never places a person beyond the touch of grace. Contemporary attempts to discriminate, to stereotype, and to paternalize those ethnically different from us find their source in prejudice and a false sense of superiority which in turn stem from our sinful nature. I have friends of many other colors, but I would never marginalize them by calling them my black or brown or yellow friends, they are simply, my friends. Clear enough? How about you?
Second Thought of the Day:
“Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on he other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled came where the man was, and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man of his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. Look after him, he said, and when I return I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:30–37)
Beloved, tensions between two races have never, ever been higher than those between Jesus and Samaritans. Jesus told Jews that Samaritans who help in self-giving love make the best neighbors. Self-giving love overcomes racial barriers, every time.
Prejudice and discrimination stems from ignorance and a clear misunderstanding of God’s love for all of His children. It is learned behavior, because as so many people have proven, no one comes out of their mother’s womb with a predisposition to hate, to discriminate, or to be prejudiced against anyone. So why is it we are experiencing such a resurgence of prejudice and hatred in this country. If you say politics, you are looking at the surface of the problem, but not the problem itself. It is not how and what we say, it is how we believe and live in our homes and our workplaces. This is where this is all coming from. Now what are we as Christians going to do about this? We must do as Jesus did, by modeling the proper behavior in our homes, in our workplaces, and in the world we live in daily.