Jesus welcomes all to explore his grace
Article,  Devotion

Hope in Our Divided World

This world feels more divided than ever. Religious lines. Political lines. Gender and economic lines. This Christmas, I invite us to celebrate our Savior that welcomed both conservatives and liberals—both religious and none—both male and female. All are welcome to discover the wonder of his grace.

Jesus entered a divided religious and political world.

I imagine Jesus’ religious context a bit like our modern Christian one—lots of divides. The Jews were divided over different perspectives. Pharisees believed in the resurrection. Sadducees did not (Acts 23:8). They also varied on their allegiance to Caesar versus their allegiance to Yhwh (Jn. 11:48). And all sides looked at each other with disagreeable eyes. I wonder what their version of Twitter might look like.

But they agreed on Jesus—although most of them agreed that Jesus should be killed (Jn. 11:50-53). And the ones that did believe in him as the Messiah were too worried about how they appeared—or their position in the religious political world—to take a public stand with Jesus (Jn. 12:42).

To me, our Christian world feels just as divided and heated.

When we should be joining hands to worship—we take stands against one another.

Jesus came to build one Body of Christ with his blood and resurrection. If we are to take a stand, let’s stand for what he told us to stand for: living for the Kingdom—not our thickly drawn lines with black sharpie marker.

Jesus came to unite the divided.

One of my favorite passages in scripture is the picture of dividing lines being erased in Jesus. At that time, Jew and non-Jew, slaves and free, and male and female—were big public divisions.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28, emphasis mine).

All believers will stand before God—with the same mark of grace and the same standard of faith.

Seana Scott

The division that still exists after Jesus, is one of faith. Does someone believe in the words and works of Jesus or not?

But all are still invited around the preverbal table. Jesus invited all people (from all backgrounds of that time and place) to be with him. Everyone could dine. Everyone could listen. Everyone could possibly believe.

If Jesus had a Christmas tree, he'd welcome all.

What are the divisions in your life?

I imagine we all have divisions in our lives. For some of us, these divisions are painful—like divorce or children far away that never come home.

I too have divisions. Such as judgement from someone I love because I follow Jesus even when it doesn’t make financial sense. Or the tension and division from two families I care about over some parenting challenges.

What are the divisions in your life?

How can we practice radical unity in Christ as we live in our homes and neighborhoods—where disunity seems to reign?

Maybe it’s apologizing finally for how you hurt someone. Maybe it’s giving a gift, not expecting anything in return. Maybe it’s inviting the least person you want around—to sit around your Christmas tree.

LET’S TALK

How are you going to practice the kind of unity Jesus modeled for us this Christmas?

Hope in Our Divided World

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