“When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, ‘Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.’” vs. 11
Luke leaves us with the impression that this one conversation was enough to change the minds of the Jerusalem believers and open their hearts to the uncircumcised. Of course we know from Paul’s letters that it took years for the gospel to be seen in an inclusive way. Judaizers dogged him throughout his ministry. Some would even say that we still haven’t figured out how Jews and Greeks, slave and free, male and female can be one Body in Christ Jesus. We pay lip service to the concept, but the reality has been more difficult. It’s rare to find congregations without racial disparities, and many still operate under patriarchal systems. In order for us to realize the vision of unity that we have in Christ we will first of all recognize that human differences make absolutely no difference in the eyes of God. Luke was right! It is God who gives to whomever God wishes the repentance that leads to life. And since God calls the shots we will have brothers and sisters of every size, shape, and color. And because they belong both to Christ and to us we are called to affirm them as they are, and not ask them to just “fit in.”
Thought for the Day: Do I belong to my congregation or am I just fitting in?