The Message to the Gentile Believers

Text: Acts 15:22-35

Reflection and Question: The church in Jerusalem sends official messengers with Paul to Antioch to tell the Gentiles that the rules to join the church are simple: abstain “from what has been sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what has been strangled and from fornication.” There was so much more that these early Christians could have required of the Gentiles — circumcision, Sabbath-keeping and the whole Purity Code of Leviticus. This was a lenient approach to including Gentile believers. What is our gentle message to fervent believers from outside our norms? Are we as welcoming as the church in Jerusalem?

Prayer: God of all times and places, we know the early church struggled to follow Peter, Paul and James in reaching beyond Jesus’ Jewish circle to include other nations in the church. We struggle too. Open our hearts to all who receive You with joy. Amen.

This meditation is based on the Daily Lectionary Year 1 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).