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The Gospel From Patmos
Everyday Insights For Living
From The Last Book Of The Bible
Daily Devotional
Friday, April 24, 2015

            And they sang a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the book and to open its seals, because you were slain and purchased for God with your blood people from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them to our God a kingdom and priests, and they will reign on the earth. Rev 5:9-10.



            According to this text the focus of the gospel is incredibly international. The death of the Lamb purchases people for God from every tribe, language and nation. This kind of openness goes far beyond anything the contemporaries of early Christianity would have known. And this international welcome was so successful that no one today is surprised that the vast majority of Christians are Gentiles.

            Nevertheless, the gospel’s complete lack of prejudice can still teach us a great deal today. The gospel embraced and still embraces people that we would not expect. This goes against the grain of our natural suspicion toward anyone who isn’t like us. I remember meeting with a small body of Christians in a Muslim country. I shared with them my passion for bringing the good news of Jesus to everyone, regardless of their race, background or religion. I was stunned to discover that they had no interest in Muslims. No matter what I said, they felt no call from God to reach out in love to their neighbors.

            Although history gives Muslims plenty of reasons to hate Christians, I have found Muslims more open to relationship with Christians than vice versa. The actions of a few terrorists should not prevent us from seeing the great value in which God holds human beings of every race, language and culture.

            I have found that people of every nation and culture are open to the gospel if treated with respect and kindness. God is calling a new generation of Christians to discard the prejudices of the past and reach out to others in the spirit of Jesus. In our treatment of others we can offer a foretaste of the multicultural heavenly chorus of Revelation 5.

            Imagine a choir filled with the saints of all ages: ancient Israelites worshiping with tambourine and joyful dance, African saints swaying and chanting, European Reformers with their majestic hymns, faithful monks with their medieval solos, Messianic Jews dancing around the Torah, Muslim followers of Isa bowing with forehead to the ground, maybe even a street Christian or two doing a gospel rap! Do you think you could handle the complexity of that harmony? I’m sure that God will be able to teach us how to blend. Why not begin practicing God’s harmonies right where you live?1



            Lord, help me to see others through Your eyes. Fill my heart with the joy You feel in the infinite variety of peoples You created.



1        Based in part on Keener, 246, 250.


 
 
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