Acts 15:6-11

Throughout the Easter Season, the daily devotions have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church. Today’s writer is JoAnn Welton.

“The apostles and the elders met together to consider the matter.  After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers.  And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. 

Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither out ancestors nor we have been able to bear?  On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” Acts 15:6-11

Each day in the news or on social media, there always seems to be someone, or some group that feels that they are better than another – a “them vs. us” world. This was also true in the early days of the Christian church, when Gentiles were being actively converted to the Christian faith.

In this chapter of Acts, a certain group from Antioch was trying to impose rules that would make it difficult for Gentiles to join the church. They argued that Gentiles could not become Christians unless they accepted certain Jewish laws, such as circumcision.  So Paul and Barnabas, and other believers, were sent to Jerusalem, to remind the elders of God’s promise, to make disciples of all people.  “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are”.

Paul and Barnabas told them of the signs and wonders that God had done among the Gentiles, declaring it as proof of God’s love and acceptance. In a world which often seems filled with negative forces that seek to divide us, let us always remember the all-inclusive strength and power of God’s love and mercy.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, never let us forget that we are all God’s children.  Help us to reach out and embrace all people, sharing the message of love that comes from the Holy Spirit and our dear Savior, Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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