Outside In

We watched a film one evening last week. It came with a warning. “Viewers will find some dialogue in this film “racist”.” The remark reminded me that the Jews weren’t fond of foreigners. They would regard me as a “Gentile” (which I am) and would have nothing to do with me. “Gentile” in the New Testament is “ton ethnon” – “ethics”.

They wouldn’t eat with Gentiles or even go into the house of an “Ethnic.” There was a wall in the Temple and no non-Jew could go beyond that point. Josephus tells us it was about “3 cubits high” – a plaque was discovered in 1871 – from that wall, it said, “Let no one of any other nation come within the fence or barrier around the Holy Place. Whoever will be taken doing so will himself be responsible that his death will ensue.”

All that changed in Acts when Peter meet Cornelius and “God granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life,”(Acts 11:18). And it was confirmed at the Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15:5-6) that “Ethnics”(Gentiles) weren’t a Jewish sect – but were authentic members of a multiracial family of believers. How marvellous that God loves THE WORLD – all Jews and all ethnics – a Christian can NEVER be racist!