Who is the one person or group of people who you would not want to associate yourself with? Think about that question for a moment as we reflect on the last part of Acts 13 and verses 13-52.
In this passage, Paul is continuing his first mission trip and is at Pisidian Antioch. While there Paul and his companions would attend the synagogue services on the Sabbath and had an opportunity to speak to those gathered. This would be a custom for Paul throughout his mission trips. He would preach in the synagogue before going out to speak with the Gentile community.
Paul was asked to speak again after some were intrigued by what he said. However, his second visit to the synagogue did not go well, as some took it upon themselves to dismiss everything that he said. Paul left. He said that he would now take the message out to the Gentiles.
Paul essentially said that he would take the message of Jesus Christ to the very people who were not accepted by the religious elite of the time. The Gentiles were often told they did not belong and were not part of the community of believers. It was only if they went through a long process that they would be accepted into the fellowship. It is this very group of people, the same group that Paul likely did not believe to be accepted in God’s kingdom before his transformation to a faith in Christ, that Paul is saying is welcomed and wanted in God’s house.
Now, let’s think back to the question that opened this devotion. Who is the one person or group of people who you would not want to associate yourself with? Whoever that person or group may be that is your modern-day Gentile group. That is your person or group that you struggle to see God’s love impacting or being with. That is your person or group that God is inviting you to see welcomed, loved, and invited in God’s kingdom. It is also the person or group God invites the church, include each of us, to reach and share God’s story with.
So, what would it mean for us to share God’s story with those whom we have a hard time associating ourselves with? How could we do it? What would it mean for you, for them, and for the kingdom?