Acts Day 86 - And So It Begins...
6:1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.
I hate starting my day like this. If there are two things that are killing us today it is food and ignorance. Put the two together and you have a serious problem.
Jesus instructed the disciples in Acts 1 to take the good news to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. Had He been speaking to Canadians He would have said to take the good news to Ottawa, to Canada, to North America, and around the globe.
In Acts 6 they haven't even left Jerusalem yet and there is already a problem. The problem centers around food and ignorance. Hebrews are Jews, the descendants of Abraham, those who have been living in Jerusalem for generations. The Hellenists are also Jews but they are not "pure". Their ancestors moved away from Jerusalem in the past and they speak Greek instead of Aramaic. They are "from away". I suppose it would be like me moving my family back to Ireland. My roots are there but the locals would see me as "from away".
Apparently this "cultural divide" was too much for the gospel to cure. Or rather it would be more accurate to say that they couldn't see past their own egos and ignorance to the Jesus who had no borders and tore down every wall He came across.
The worst part is that it was the Hebrews who were withholding food from the Hellenists. How could they take the good news to the world if their hearts weren't even open enough to include their closest relatives and fellow Jews? If a Hebrew Jew has an issue with a Hellenist Jew how will they ever go to Samaria let alone beyond?
It would be nice to think this problem is an ancient Jewish problem. However the talk of walls and strengthening or borders and withholding food from some but not from others has not gone away. The truth is that this talk is strengthening. Only one thing makes it possible for racism, prejudice, ignorance, and fear of others to increase. That one thing is a disconnect from Jesus.
Think about it. The church was growing at a fast pace. This growth prevented or at least made it difficult for those who knew Jesus best to make Him known more fully to the new believers. This means they came into the church with their old ideas, their cultural bias, their inherited prejudices etc... and it wasn't long before the devil found tools he could use to divide and conquer.
This much I can say with certainty. If we allow ourselves to put humanity into boxes and prejudice them by categories and treat them differently based on these prejudgments we don't know Jesus very well and are taking His name in vain.
"I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven having the everlasting good news to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth, to every nation, every kindred, every language, and every people..."
Jesus sees us as one. It's time to see as He sees.