Ephesians 3 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah. This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now being revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Ruach (Spirit): the Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Messiah Yeshua through the gospel. I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of G_d’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power.” Ephesians 3: 3-7
Suppose your neighborhood is hassled by some ethnic gang. They extort money, and terrorize your family…its really bad. This gang’s corruption has even infiltrated the government. There’s nobody to call for help.
Now, suppose this gang’s terror has been going on for several generations. A prejudice of hatred has grown, among your community, against everyone of this gang’s ethnicity. Your only hope is that you’ve been taught to believe that G_d would, someday, send a Deliverer, Who would stop the terror. Your whole life’s plea to G_d is enjoined with that of generations past, crying out, “Save us from those people!”
Finally, in His perfect timing, G_d responded to those prayers. He sent the promised Deliverer. You’re thinking, “Now, those people are going to get crushed!” But, instead of destroying and publicly humiliating all the members of that gang’s ethnic community, your Deliverer has other plans. He decided to atone for their sins and offer them grace and forgiveness…if they would repent & receive His atonement, by faith.
How would that make you feel? I bet your answer is close to what many Jews were feeling, when they learned that Messiah came first, to atone for sin and offer salvation to all people, before He returns to judge and punish the world’s sin.
Yeshua identified that the REAL problem in the world was not primarily its different people groups; the problem was how sin had affected those cultures. He understood that sin had infected BOTH the Jew and Gentile cultures. Thus, Yeshua did not elevate any people group above another, with regards to their need for atonement or its accessibility to anyone who seeks it. He came to wipe the slate clean for all, so to speak, and give everyone a choice for a new start. This was so that, by God’s grace and the Spirit’s enabling, all ethnicities could glorify Him, together.
I can relate to how the Jewish leaders felt when Yeshua spoke of a “good Samaritan”, and commanded, “Love your neighbor, as yourself.” I can also identify with the prejudice Paul faced, when he asserted that the mystery of the “prophets” in the Tanakh (Old Testament) was: All of us Jews need atonement, and Gentiles can receive it, too!
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Monday, October 7, 2013