Thursday, October 10, 2013

REMOVING THE GREAT DIVIDE

When Mahatma Gandhi was a student, he became intrigued with the Bible.  Reading the Gospels touched his heart, so he considered becoming a convert.  Christianity seemed to offer real solutions to the caste system that divided India's population.  One Sunday he attended a church to seek the way of salvation.  An usher refused him a seat and said, "Go and worship with your own people."  Tragically, he left and never came back.  Gandhi said, "If Christians have caste differences also, I might as well remain a Hindu."

Ancient Israel suffered from a similar form of prejudice, a caste system of its own.  Religious Jews treated the Gentiles with scorn.  Gentiles were regarded as unclean -- diseased.  Any association with a Gentile was unlawful for a Jew. Israel mistakenly believed that Gentiles would not be included in God's family or inherit any of God's blessings.

Jesus changed all that!  He broke down the social barriers that separated Jews and Gentiles, and His life removed the great divide.  God invites both Jews and Gentiles into His house to worship together as one family… These two groups (and all believers) must learn how to share the wealth of God's great treasures.

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace; in His flesh He has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us." (Ephesians 2:13-14 NRSV)."

-- Lenya Heitzig and Penny Pierce Rose in Pathway to God's Treasure: Ephesians


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