Paul shares with his readers how two peoples have become one new people, through Jesus. No longer Gentiles and Israelites but Children of the Father.
When God called Abraham and set him apart He knew that there was going to be a separation between the people. Actually, there had been separations since the time of the Tower of Babble. People separated themselves based on geographic regions and ruling bodies. God set His people apart by deity. No other nation or people believed in the One true God. So the world was divided into two camps; the Israelites who worshiped God, and the Gentiles who didn’t. Pretty simple dividing line.
But as the division grew it began to include some of men’s dividing lines. “They don’t look like us.” “They don’t dress like us.” “We are better than them.” “I don’t want anything to do with them.” I don’t know for certain but I don’t think in the original law that God condemned everyone who wasn’t part of this “in” group. I think man added a LOT to what God actually put down. Yes, I believe that God expected those not born into the Israelite family to adopt His standards if they wanted to join that community but I don’t believe all the rituals separating the people and making the Gentiles “unclean” came from Him directly.
Peter’s vision on the housetop speaks to that. “Don’t call anything I have made clean unclean” (Acts 10:15). Jesus’ work made the Gentiles clean also. God intended it to be so from the beginning.
Both Jew and Gentile were lost but neither knew it. The Gentiles had never met the Real God. They were still looking to things made with their own hands to save them. The Jews knew about God but had no teal way of reaching Him. Both groups were separated from Him, until He made a way for both of them.
Both groups had to leave what they knew and walk in a new path. The Jews had to acknowledge the hopelessness of reaching God through the law and accept Jesus’ sacrifice. The Gentiles had to see the futility of trusting their own creations to be their salvation. This was new territory for both and both wanted to hold onto the familiar as much as possible. But God wouldn’t allow that. They had to step away from what they knew and walk in the new path He set before them. The two groups then became one new people.
In my mind’s eye I see a fork in the road but running the other way. More of a merging of two paths. The two original roads running parallel to each other, never touching. Then there is a branch off of each path that merges in the center creating another completely different path. Those walking on this new path have left their dividing factors behind and united instead under one life altering factor; Jesus Christ.
He is so worth stepping out of your comfort zone for! Break through the walls dividing us; especially those dividing us from Him. And willingly welcome your new brothers and sisters in the Lord. United we stand!
Father God, thank You for remembering us Gentiles too in Your plan. You didn’t send Jesus for only one group. You sent Him for all people throughout all eternity. I’m very grateful that You made me clean. Thank You that I am numbered among Your children. Thank You for breaking down all the barriers between You and me. Thank You for giving me SO MANY brothers and sisters. Help me treat them always as You would, and so honor You by my hands.