On Sunday we talked about how the Gospel is bringing together groups who were at odds with one another. In the First Century world this was Jews and Gentiles. Paul wants Jews and Gentiles to see that they are being brought together in Christ. The dividing wall has been brought down, the law and commandments fulfilled and now, shockingly Gentiles are being called “fellow heirs” (Ephesians 3:6).
Paul says at the beginning of Ephesians 3 that it’s for this reason (Jews and Gentiles coming together under Christ) that he is in prison. Stop to think of what God has already done in Paul’s own life. Saul was born and raised as Jew. He had a pedigree as a Jew to top all (Philippians 3:4-6). Yet he meets the risen Messiah, Jesus and it radically shifts the trajectory of Saul’s life. He takes the Greek version of his name, Paul, and becomes the apostle to the Gentiles. This is no minor shift. Paul knew all the reasons to keep himself clean and clear of the uncircumsized, unclean Gentiles. Yet the Good News of Jesus compelled Paul to risk everything to proclaim this good news to those who were near (physically and spiritually) and those who were far. Paul proclaims a gospel in which people are reconciled with God and with one another. Paul’s desire to see followers of Jesus living and worshiping together, his drive to proclaim the good news of reconciliation gets him beat up, kicked out, arrested, ship-wrecked and ultimately martyred. Paul lays it all on the line to see the church live as one built on the foundation of Jesus the Messiah.
While Paul risks everything, sometimes I wonder if I’m even willing to be inconvenienced for the Good News. I mean the other Sunday the air conditioning in the chapel wasn’t working at 100%. That was kind of inconvenient. Does that count? Paul believed, he trusted, in the Gospel. He lived in such a way that the Good News had to be real or else Paul was in real trouble. Do I trust the Good News? Do I really believe in being reconciled to God, being reconciled with others and seeing other reconciled with God? Enough to experience real inconvenience?