13:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:
‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as believed were appointed to eternal life.
Some things are obvious. The earth experiences some kind of gravitational pull making everything that goes up come back down. Whether or not we can understand why it happens does not change the obvious fact that it does.
Sometimes obvious things get blurry and become less obvious. When the pilgrims left Europe seeking a new life they left with the obvious conviction that all men are created equal and must be free. They wrote this belief into the founding document of the United States of America. They then proceeded in some places to purchase men and make them slaves. Apparently they forgot to apply the equal and free part to all people. Here's what Abraham Lincoln said about it:
"On the question of liberty, as a principle, we are not what we have been. When we were the political slaves of King George, and wanted to be free, we called the maxim that "all men are created equal" a self evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim "a self evident lie."
--August 15, 1855 Letter to George Robertson
Freedom is freedom and equal is equal. This much is obvious. Now there is another obvious truth. History repeats itself. To this I would add we are hypocrites. The people of Israel were slaves in the land of Egypt. Later they were taken captive by Babylon and at the time of Jesus they were under Roman rule. They knew what it was to be treated as less than free and less than equal.
If we rewind the clock back to the beginning of the history of the nation it began with a promise from God - "In you all the nations of the earth will be blessed". Obviously God’s plan included all the nations. Story after story makes this truth self-evident. Rahab and her family were rescued from Jericho. Ruth was woven into the fabric of the nation from Moab as was Tamar before her from Canaan. Jonah was sent to preach to the "evil" Nineveh. God reached out and changed the heart of Nebuchadnezzar through the influence of faithful Daniel and his friends. Over and over God made the mission of Israel clear. They were to be a blessing to the nations. Over and over they built walls instead of bridges to the point that when their Messiah came they saw Him as an enemy. His determined efforts to tear down walls and obliterate borders was both an offense and a threat to them. Now He is gone and men like Paul and Barnabas have taken up His mantel and are extending the love and salvation of God beyond the walls of the Jewish people. Still the Jews are resisting while the Gentiles are rejoicing.
Some things are obvious. Red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight. As I watch this world continue to unfold I sense we as Christians are going backwards not forward. We are becoming less like Jesus instead of more like Him. Perhaps Lincoln had it right. The more fat we become the more we want to be masters. This much I know. We are all equal and love will win and anyone who desires to be a master over others will not be around to see the Kingdom as it was always meant to be.
Choose today whom you will serve.