In the first century, the Jewish way of life was not to associate with Gentiles; certainly not in the aspect of the God they worshipped. That was just unthinkable. I am glad that was not how God thought!
They would not be open on this subject at all. In fact, Peter had to be given a dream for this subject to be accepted.
The apostle Paul went around telling people about the good news but again went to preach in the local synagogues in whatever town he was in – to the Jews.
He started off in a place called Ephesus which is in Turkey and well worth a visit.
The good news was rejected by the synagogue and Paul was marked as a dangerous man with dangerous ideas about the Messiah.
So Paul decided to quit teaching in the synagogue and set up shop at a lecture hall, where his Good news message attracted both Jews and Gentiles. Yes, Gentiles. This like Peter was groundbreaking for as I said Jews had been taught not to associate with heathen Gentiles. It was as the saying goes a closed book.
So let me ask you how open are you? Are you biased? So much is being made of kneeling at football matches and what it represents. We can have minds just like the Jews, so closed we are not prepared to open them in the slightest.
Do you know we can put up walls even when we don’t intend to? We avoid certain communities, certain groups, certain people. Often there is no reason apart from the fact they’re just different. Perhaps we can feel uncomfortable being with them and yet we have not made much effort to understand them, so we do what we always do – hang out with people who understand us and share culture etc.
Let me leave you with this to consider. How did Jesus live?
- He feasted with the so-called rabble of His day and was often accused of opening up to the wrong people.
- He travelled through Samaria rather than bypassing it, as many other Jews did.
- He sat with an undesirable woman at a well where even her own community did not want to associate with her.
- He touched lepers. No one did that as they were classified as unclean.
- He was open to what God wanted Him to do and the apostle Paul said “Jesus destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility”. Jesus broke down social walls in order to build a new structure.
So how open are you to change? Are there walls that need to come down in your life?
Stay safe and Blessed