A short reading and prayer for today
After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Romans 3:29-30 NLT
The apostle Paul was a Jew and was very proud of the fact. In this letter he goes to great lengths to show that Jews have a very important place in the plans of God, but he wants his Roman readers to understand that God’s love wasn’t in any sense confined to the Jews. Indeed, God sent Jesus into the world for non-Jews (who he calls Gentiles) as well the Jews, because all of them had an equal need for forgiveness. Jesus’ death on the cross was for every kind of person because we all fall short of God’s standards.
Earlier in this chapter Paul asks the question whether Jews were in some sense better than other people and he flatly rejects the idea. Privileged as the Jews undoubtedly are, they all stand in the same place before God. Just like every Gentile they are sinners and fall short of God’s standards. It’s very important that we never gain any sense of arrogance about ourselves, as if we are somehow superior to other groups of people. You may have been brought up by your parents to live a good and moral life, and you may consider that you have never caused intentional harm to another human being. If that is so, that’s splendid and I warmly congratulate you. But you are still a sinner. If you went to visit someone in a high security prison and heard their story you would probably be very shocked by the life that they had lived. I’ve found that prisoners are often very ready to go into massive detail about their crimes. You might well come away from visiting the prisoner reflecting that they are very much worse than you. But Paul says that you would be wrong. You are in the same place as them. You have both fallen short of God’s standards and are in need of his forgiveness.
As you meet people today, I would encourage you to remember that everyone you meet is in the same place as you before God. All of them are loved by God and are in equal need of him.
Do you ever feel superior to other people and if so how could you get over that feeling?
Loving God, thank you for the way in which you reach out in love to every kind of person. Amen
Photo – Mussenden Temple, Downhill, Castlerock