Pastors ponderings 21st july 2017
Acts is written by Luke and it is the continuing story from Luke’s Gospel. A notable thing about Luke’s storytelling is that he always uses the least likely characters. Luke chooses to focus on the people who you wouldn’t think were important, or who are normally excluded, to reveal the salvation of God; for example, poor widows, prostitutes, and tax collectors. It’s not surprising then that the first example of salvation seen in Acts is the healing of the lame beggar. The type of person that even today we would mostly likely avoid eye contact with is the very person God chooses to reveal His plans to bring healing and salvation to the world. What is surprising is the location of this miracle. It happens at the Temple, the Gate Beautiful to be precise, at a place where the people of God begin to sift through the people and appoint those who can enter into the most holy places in the Temple. The responsibility for guarding and perpetuating the Faith rests with these leaders and it is therefore easy to understand why certain people would be barred from having access to these holy places. Some people may add ways of believing and living to the faith that are different, wrong even. But that’s Luke’s point. The very people we would keep out, and all for good reasons, are the very people Jesus has included and has chosen to give them access into the most sacred places. That Jesus includes the excluded is not a new thought or even a surprise. What is more difficult is trying to identify those who we exclude. Seeing a truth about Jesus is never the problem; living like Jesus is the issue. How do we include the excluded? Does this story now mean we include everyone? Do all people have access to all parts of church life now? The questions are endless. However, that’s the fun of being a Christian; the fun is in the wrestling this stuff out together and the challenging of our preconceived ideas and the shrugging off of the status quo. None of this is easy but as Luke points out, it is the outworking of the Gospel.