A post from several years ago about accepting people based on the Gospel.
1In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 4As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, 6and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ ” Luke 3:1-6
As I read these 6 verses my eyes are drawn to the final phrase:
“and all mankind will see God’s salvation.”
The past few days, I have had the privilege of spending a lot of time with several friends from church. Yesterday afternoon and evening I spent a considerable amount of time with a particular new, close friend. We both started attending this church about the same time, and were talking about our experiences there, and seeing how similar they are. One of the disheartening things the course of our conversation unearthed was that we both see the same cliques among our age group. I must say that within my church and my age group they are extremely accepting and welcoming of people. Still though, there are cliques.
Why is this? Why do we cling to those like us? Is it bad that we do? I am not sure it is necessarily evil to be friends with those much like us, and for those friendships to be strong. The problem comes when we start to exclude those unlike us.
These verses are describing John the Baptist role in preparation of the coming Messiah, the Messiah that will bring God’s salvation for all mankind. The Greek wording used here is to be understood as including both Jews and Gentiles. God’s salvation is not at all exclusive. It is there as a gift for all. We have got to realize that we, as representatives of God, cannot become exclusive in our friendships. We must be willing to include all people in our network of friends.
Today I plead with you to leave His footprints by being accepting of all people regardless of sex, race, politics, or even college football team affiliation.