Unity & Equity

Romans 15:25-33

I am going to Jerusalem to render service to God’s people there.

I urge you, my dear family, through our Lord Jesus the Messiah and through the loveĀ op the spirit: fight the battle for me in your prayers to God on my behalf so that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea, and so that my service forĀ Jerusalem may be welcomed gladly by God’s people.

So Paul had collected an offering from Gentile believers in Macedonia and Acahaea who wanted to gift it to the Jewish believers who were poor in Jerusalem.

In this letter, Paul is asking intensely for prayer on this journey, first off, because the unbelievers in Judea had it in for him, and that part would be dangerous. Very understandable prayer request there. He had trouble with them before.

But why ask for prayer that the Jerusalem believers would accept the Gentile offering? Why would they not?

Well, it’s all about unity and equity and the demonstration that, with God, there are no second-class Christians, for God intended the restoration of the unity of all peoples in Christ.

These Gentiles have accepted the gift of Christ brought to them via the Jewish people, for Jesus was Jewish. Their hope is to return the favor, so to speak, by attending to the Jewish Christians earthly needs, and if accepted, will show unity and equality among all of God’s people in Christ no matter what their ethnicity, for in Christ none of us has more privilege than any other.

God’s equal concern for all people, all types, runs through the entire Bible. The acceptance of this gift by the Jewish Christians will be a tacit admission that they are all, Jew and Gentile alike, on equal footing before God.

So it was kind of a big deal.

Function does not entitle one to preferential treatment before a God who treats all on the same basis: his mercy.

~Paul Achtemeier

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