Ephesians 3:1-6 - For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
The old adage goes, “There are two kinds of people in this world…” then one fills in those blanks. Biblically speaking, there are “Two kinds of people in this world: Jews and Gentiles.” One is either a member of God’s covenant people or not. This thinking was ingrained in the Jewish people from early on. It was “us” versus “them.” But what happens when God decides to expand His covenant people to include “them?” What if God’s mercy is extended beyond our particular group, toward those who aren’t like “us?”
This is the crux of the above passage. It was called a “mystery.” But this mystery, somewhat concealed in the Old Testament, is now being fully revealed in the New Testament; the covenant people would now be made up of both Jews and Gentiles. Jews did not associate with non-Jews. For Jesus to even speak with the Samaritan woman in John 4 was scandalous. Peter was a bit hesitant to even go into a Gentile home without a prompting by the Holy Spirit in Acts 10. But now, a new work of God has come. Jews and Gentiles alike are now part of God’s covenant people.
In our own time, we have similar situations. We have divisions along racial lines, socio-economic lines, national lines, etc. What has been separated by those things is no longer to separate us because of the conciliatory work of Jesus on the cross. We are to be one people in Jesus, and what was once a mystery is now being revealed in us. God is reconciling to Himself all kinds of different folks … even people like us.
• Do you ever have an “us” versus “them” attitude? When?
• Do you ever wonder why God would bless “those people?”
• Gentiles were often seen as enemies. How would you feel if God saved people you don’t really like?
• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for making those of us who were outsiders one of His people (in Jesus).