“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”
- Acts 15:19 NIV
God created the world and everything in it. People messed up that good creation, so Jesus came to begin restoring the world to the way God had always intended it to operate.
But God did not begin his work with Jesus. He has been at work throughout history. A couple of thousand years before Jesus came to earth, God picked a group of people who eventually came to be known as the Jews to engage with. He gave them laws and sent them prophets, all of which pointed to the coming of Jesus.
Jesus himself was a Jew, as were his first followers. The historical and theological roots of the Christian faith are so firmly planted in Judaism that when non-Jewish people began following Jesus, it was unclear whether they needed to follow the laws God had given to the Jewish people. Here, the leaders of the early Church declared that Jesus changed the paradigm and having a relationship with God no longer required adherence to those laws; the grace Jesus unleashed was–and always will be–enough.
[Upward] What did this passage reveal to you about God? Praise him for being that God.
[Inward] What did this passage bring up in you? Be honest with God about your questions and shortcomings, your fears and desires.
[Outward] What does this passage call me to in relationship to others in my world? Ask God to help you take your place in the new chapter of the Book of Acts that is being written in your life today.