Tag Archives: Gentiles

Deuteronomy 19-22; Acts 28

I was thinking about Romans over the past weekend, in particular chapters 10-12 and looking at the grafting in and out of the vine as part of producing and not producing fruit and how that is reflective on who I am as a follower of Jesus.

In doing so, I found a rabbinic teaching in Deuteronomy that took instructions about trees and turned those trees into disciples. So there was a match between my pondering and today’s readings. Not sure what it all means, so I will give it as is and let you take it somewhere or leave it right where it is.

When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls. – Deuteronomy 20:19-20  ESV

Those who have made a decision to follow Jesus are strong candidates and are fit for leading others to do the same. Those who truly have made such a decision are described as disciples. There is a particular rabbinic mandate that opposes anyone teaching an unfit disciple. 

If a disciple of the sages is fit [הָגוּן], eat from him and do not cut him down, but if not destroy him and cut him down

Going back to my pondering in Romans. Our reading today in Acts illustrates the grafting in of Gentiles. Paul had incredible success – thousands of Jews started following Jesus. Yes, he also experienced persecution to the point that the words Jesus gave Ananias that Paul would suffer as he served came all true. Yet, here we have the call to specifically share the good news to the Gentiles and they would respond in an even greater way for they would actually listen.

Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen. – Acts 28:28  ESV

Father, I do not live in fear of being taken out of Your family. You have placed me here with You and Your love and grace sustains me. I want to learn from You and I want to listen to You. Help me take what I learn and hear and share it with others that they may walk with You as well. I cannot walk where You have called me, alone. I need You with me as You were with Paul. Thank you for sharing Yourself with me. I pray that I may always honour You in all that I do and say. Amen.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

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Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Genesis 23; Nehemiah 12; Matthew 22; Acts 22

In Matthew 22 Jesus tells the parable of the wedding feast. The king prepared a banquet for his son, but the invited guests refused to come. The king then opened up the feast to everyone. The people in the streets were very receptive! I wonder if once word got around about how fabulous this banquet was there were some pretty upset folks wondering why they gave up the opportunity? I wonder if the people were resentful that the street people got to go?

In Acts 22 the saga of Paul continues. Paul has been arrested on charges that he was teaching “everyone everywhere” against the Jews and the temple and the law. Paul was able to quiet down the crowd and give his testimony. He gave the whole story that starts with his family and training credentials and describes how zealous he was for God just like the people in the crowd, maybe even more. I love how Paul often begins his testimony by relating to the audience. It seems to work, as they listen for quite a long time, even when the story becomes offensive to them. But as soon as he talks about going out to preach to the Gentiles the crowd explodes again. They cry “Rid the earth of him. He’s not fit to live!”. They really didn’t want any Gentiles in their exclusive little club. They were God’s people, and the Gentiles were not, and it was important to keep it that way. Even after the spectacular Damascus road story they were not willing to accept the notion of God’s grace much less God’s grace extended to Gentiles.

When I think about how that applies to me, or to our culture, I wonder if I have ever wanted to keep my church or my church circle of friends as my own little exclusive club. Do I ever look at those outside the church as unworthy? Do I really get it that I don’t deserve God’s grace any more than they do?

Lord, I want to accept my invitation to the banquet. It’s your banquet and you can invite anyone you choose. Help me to not only enjoy the banquet you provide but make room for all those that come through the door. And give me the strength to go out to the streets, to the “Gentiles” of this age, and extend your invitation.


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