Tuesday, March 04, 2014

This week's lesson: discipling the nations

It's not easy "to make disciples of all nations."

And sometimes, it's tougher for us than it is for them.

Read the first few chapters of Acts, for instance, and you'll notice how slooooooowly the Church included those uncircumcised Gentiles.
  • The first believers, remember, were all Palestinian Jews -- Palestinian Jews whose men were all circumcised.
  • But with Pentecost came Hellenistic Jews -- and while this created all kinds of trouble about money and leadership, at least circumcision wasn't an issue.
  • Next came Samaritans -- foreign scum, to be sure, but foreign scum who were circumcised.
  • Then came an Ethiopian eunuch -- a man for whom the whole question of circumcision was . . . academic.
  • And only after all this did Peter finally baptized a God-fearing Gentile by the name of Cornelius -- and even then, it took a vision, a command from God, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a meeting with leaders in Jerusalem, and a church council (not to mention a number of letters from Paul) before the church finally decided it was okay to make disciples of people like . . . you know, people like him.
To be sure, we shouldn't be too hard on the early church. It's safer to stick with your own kind, after all -- safer, easier, and much more enjoyable.

That's why "the nations" aren't the only ones who need change.

No, if we want to change them, then we need to change ourselves.

No comments: