Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday in Pentecost, Proper 18: A light for the Gentiles

Opening Sentence
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1

Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above

Commemoration: Alexander Crummell
Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Alexander Crummell, whom you called to preach the Gospel to those who were far off and to those who were near. Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 41, 52

Lessons: Job 32:1-10, 19-33:1, 19-28; Acts 13:44-52; John 10:19-30

As long as they thought the message was exclusively for them, the Jews in Antioch were glad to hear Paul and Barnabas. When "almost the whole city" showed up on the Sabbath "to hear the word of the Lord," however, the Jews became jealous "and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him."

Here is seen illustrated what Paul would later write about in Romans, that "not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel" (Romans 9:6). Those who jealously guarded against the word going out to the Gentiles were contradicting the very purpose for which God raised up Israel. In "turning to the Gentiles," Paul and Barnabas would fulfill that purpose. As Paul said, "For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth."

It was not for Jews only that the message of salvation was to be proclaimed. All who heard and received the message of salvation were "appointed to eternal life," that is, grafted into the true Israel, chosen not because of ethnic background or heritage, but by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.


Hallelujah! What a Savior