“… for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:27-29 NIV)
Our Lord came into a deeply divided and polarized society. There was a divide between hated foreign oppressors and the citizens of the vassal state. With Judaism there were different religious groupings -- the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Zealots. There was a divide between the Jew, the Gentile, the Samaritan. And then men were segregated from women. There were free persons and there were slaves. There were rich, there were poor. There were collaborators and those who worked within the hateful system.
The world saw a veritable miracle unfolding before its very eyes as all sorts and conditions of women and men, rich and poor, slave and free, Jew and Gentile – all these came to belong in one fellowship, one koinonia, one communion. They did not regard one another just as equals. That in itself would have been a huge miracle, for slave to be accepted as an equal by his former master. An equal you can acknowledge once and then forever thereafter ignore. No, they regarded one another not just as equals but as sisters and brothers, members of one family, God’s family.
– Desmond Tutu in The Rainbow People of God