Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reaching the World

 Acts 22:21 And he said to me, 'Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'" 22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, "Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live."

21 καὶ εἶπεν πρός με· πορεύου, ὅτι ἐγὼ εἰς ἔθνη μακρὰν ἐξαποστελῶ σε. 22  Ἤκουον δὲ αὐτοῦ ἄχρι τούτου τοῦ λόγου καὶ ἐπῆραν τὴν φωνὴν αὐτῶν λέγοντες· αἶρε ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς τὸν τοιοῦτον, οὐ γὰρ καθῆκεν αὐτὸν ζῆν.

This is one of those passages that is initially difficult for us to relate to in our cultural context.  What is the big deal with Paul going to the Gentiles?  You would think this to be much more serious if you had spent your whole life being separate from those people who were considered "unclean."  The idea of God coming to the Gentiles was pretty much unthinkable for the Jews.  It certainly was for Paul before Christ saved him.  And here he is telling the story of his commission.  Their reaction was to say αἶρε ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς τὸν τοιοῦτον.  They used αἶρε, which is an imperative.  They weren't kidding about this.

This may be over-spiritualizing a bit, but I think that this does have application for our day.  We all have folks to whom we don't want to preach the message.  A Korean reading this may have trouble preaching the gospel to someone who is Japanese.  An older southern African-American may have trouble preaching the gospel to an older white man.  A widow from the 9/11 terrorist attacks would have a hard time preaching the gospel to a Muslim.  And so on.  To whom do you struggle with preaching the gospel?  Is there a people group you deem unworthy of God's grace?

This passage shows us that God truly does love the world.  His gospel is meant for everyone.  He uses means to spread it.  Are you going to be part of that?

1 comment:

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

The wives and sister of the slain martyrs of Ecuador, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully and Roger Youderian, they took up the challenge and preached the good news to their loved ones' murderers. These were Christian witnesses for sure, and at all costs.