September 4, 2017
READ: Ephesians 2:11-18
He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups (v.15).
Years ago, the alumni magazine of a large university featured an image of undergraduates, including an African-American student, cheering on their football team. The only problem was that the student hadn’t ever attended a football game! It turned out that—in an attempt to showcase the supposed diversity of the school—the editors had Photoshopped the student’s face into the crowd. This true story sadly reflects the shallow perspective people often have towards diversity.
The early church was an explosion of diversity in every sense: the linguistic diversity reflected in the Pentecost of Acts 2, the geographic and cultural diversity seen in Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 and the religious diversity that would begin with Peter’s meeting with Cornelius, the Gentile centurion, in Acts 10. The early church was well acquainted with different kinds of people.
But this was much more than diverse people living in close proximity to one another. The apostle Paul says in Ephesians 2 that through the reconciling ministry of Jesus Christ, these very different people actually created a brand new people (v.16), a new family that had the same heavenly Father (v.18). So the church wasn’t simply a diverse community, but a diverse family.
Jesus’ good news will always gather people from all nations, cultures and languages—the history of the church has demonstrated this. But when they come, we should remember that we’re not called to only tolerate one another. We are the beautiful and diverse body of Christ, a creation so amazing that it should inevitably cause the world to ask, “How can this be?” (Acts 2:7). It should draw them to the love of Jesus.
365-day-plan: Luke 20:20-40
Read 1 Peter 2:9-10 to see that not only are we a new people, but far more—a chosen people and a royal priesthood!
Do you think diversity is important in the church? How can we go beyond simply looking diverse to actually living as a diverse family in Jesus?