by Rev Jason Phua
Bible readings: Acts 21:18-36; Psalm 150:1-6
READ (verses for reflection)
Acts 21:27-28 27 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.”
The Jews from Asia said that Paul had defiled the holy temple by bringing in the Greeks. Their charge against Paul could have risen from their witness of Trophimus the Ephesian in Paul’s company; and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple (Ref: 21:29). According to historical accounts, Gentiles were welcome to worship in the outermost court but forbidden (on the penalty of death) to enter into the two inner courts. Such a charge against Paul is ironic; for Paul was the messenger of God’s love for both Jews and Gentiles. The Gospel was supposed to tear down barriers among all ethnicities and declare that none is considered to be defiled in Christ Jesus. Yet the hard-heartedness and ignorance of men had passed judgements which defiled the inner temples of their own hearts.
We believe that salvation is for everyone; but how much do we live out this belief? Are we willing to go to all people to love them and share of the Gospel? Or do we have a selective group of people whom we would only minister to? Would we not get ourselves “defiled” (as defined by the world) so that others could taste the purity and freedom in Jesus Christ? Would we not be of good courage to witness and share God’s love to our mortal enemies so that they can be blessed? As we begin our journey of faith in 2017, may these questions linger in the innermost being of our hearts as we seek to be true disciples of the Lord Jesus who gave Himself to all.
Lord, may You help us to love and minister to those whom we thought are “beyond hope” or those considered to be “untouchables” by the society. Help us to witness Your love, grace and truth so that more will come to know You and as such Your Name be glorified. Amen.