Outlanders Brought Near

November 12, 2021

Scripture Resource Passage: Ephesians 2:11-18 

Exclusively Jewish—during many centuries Hebrews were the Father’s people; they belonged to God and one another.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

They were the people of the Covenant. They were the people of the Exodus with its unleavened bread. They were the people of Sinai and the Law. They were the people of the prophets, the people of the captivity, the people of the return and most importantly the people of Messiah.

Early on you were one of the family or, you were an outlander. You were tolerated but outlanders had no covenant home in the Promise, and only a limited seat at the table (Leviticus 19). However, and thankfully Christ comes as the Grand Interrupter, the divine full-filling One sent by the Father, ensuring the promised and fully extended invitation (Isaiah 42 to Ephesians 2:11-13).

One letter, provided for disciples living in the 1st century Mediterranean city of Ephesus explains: “…now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Whosoever will may come because Christ extended the invitation, removing all barriers (Ephesians 2:14). A lack of Jewish heritage in your family does not bar you from a seat at God’s table.

Some Bostonians were adamant about new people. Those arriving after the Mayflower’s landing were, “late arrivals.” Exclusive actions and feelings were very strong.

Some Coloradan’s barely tolerated newcomers. Vanity license plates proclaimed “Native.” Newer arrivals added “Semi-native.” Which led to “Alien,” “Transplant,” and “Foreigner.” Quickly followed by “Who Cares?” Then on to “I Care.” Finally, “Restless Natives.”

We search for significance and belonging—even those of us with the tendencies of isolationists. Scripture’s wondrous phrase expresses Christ’s truth: “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near” (Ephesians 2:17). 

Life Applications

Are there particular ways in which you feel part of God’s family?

Do you find yourself searching for experiences of belonging to the family?

Are there times you find yourself feeling less connected with God’s family?

Thank you for reading. Grace and peace to each one. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Published by Andrew Simkins

Dr. Andrew Simkins provides spiritual direction for individuals and small groups through the regular blog posts found on this site. He resides in northwest Indiana with his beloved, along with nearby children and grandchildren who are the adornment of his life.

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