May 14, 2017
The feeling of exclusion is one of the worst feelings I have ever felt. It’s the classic “I get picked last at recess” feeling. It is also the feeling we get when we find out someone that we normally do stuff with is doing something without us, and they post it on social media. Feeling excluded can often trigger us to feel unwanted or worthless, but I am here to tell you that is not the case.
May I turn your attention to Luke 2:30-32 and Luke 3:6-9? These verses talk about the salvation of God. One interesting fact about the salvation of God is what is said in verse 32 “A light of revelation to the Gentiles,”. This phrase is talking about how Jesus will reach out in his ministry and include the Gentile people in salvation. This concept is hinted upon in verse 10 as well when the angel that scared the shepherds says, “I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people”. The word “all” in verse ten and the phrase, “Presence of all peoples” leads me to believe that everyone will be included, not just the “people of God” at that time who were the Jews. Also, this idea is found in Luke 3:6 when it says “all flesh” which includes the Gentile, or non-jew, in salvation.
How can this be, that all people, can now be included in salvation? Well, I think that John the Baptist explains this very well in the next chapter. In Luke 3:7 John starts to rebuke those who are coming to be baptized only for the sake of looking good in front of others and not actually because they care about being saved. He continues and spurs them to change by telling them to bear fruit “worthy of repentance”. Not claiming that they are a part of the Jewish faith, that no longer matters because everyone is included now as long as they bear fruit. He also tells them the consequence of not bearing fruit, which is being chopped down and throw into the fire.
How can we accept the offer and become included in the salvation that Jesus brings? We change our lives and actions to reflect that of Jesus’. Since Jesus was the Light to the Gentiles, it no longer matters if you were a Jew by heritage to be a part of the people of God. Sometimes I feel that we think the same way the Jews did, “Well, I have the title of Christian so that must make me one, right?” According to John the Baptist in these verses, it does not. But those who bear good fruit, of the spirit of God, will not be thrown into the fire and will have salvation. So the next time you’re feeling excluded remember that Jesus wants you to be included in the people of God.