Genesis 11, Matthew 10, Ezra 10, Acts 10

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Genesis 11, Matthew 10, Ezra 10, Acts 10. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Acts 10. 

Two interconnected themes that unite the passages in today's readings are the theme of separation and unity. Consider:

  • In Genesis 11:1-9, the world was united by one language and people determined to stay together (v. 4) despite God’s command to humanity to fill the earth. God supernaturally confused their languages to get them to separate from each other.
  • In Matthew 10, Jesus sent out the Twelve to call people to follow Christ their Messiah (v. 7), but he warned them not to evangelize the Gentiles or even the Samaritans (vv. 5b-6). They were to keep the message separate from non-Jewish people. Later in Matthew 10, Christ told the disciples that the gospel would have a separating affect even among the Jewish people.
  • In Ezra 10, Ezra learned that many people who remained in the land of Judah had taken foreign wives in disobedience to God’s command. The leaders of Jerusalem commanded these men to separate from their non-Jewish wives through divorce (v. 11).
  • In Acts 10, Peter is told NOT to separate from the Gentiles any longer, but rather to take the gospel to them. When he obeyed this command, they not only trusted Christ, but received the same sign—tongues (v. 44-46)—that the Jewish believers had received on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4). Peter was so convinced that God had accepted these Gentiles into the church that he ordered them to be baptized in Christ’s name (v. 48). This symbol of baptism united the Gentile believers with their Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ.

Why do you think it was so important to God to separate the people in to nations (Genesis 11), to keep the gospel separate from the Gentiles during Christ’s time on earth (Matthew 10), and to keep the Jewish people separate from their Gentile neighbors (Ezra 10)? Why, after all this separation, did God reverse the situation and order Peter to unite the Gentile believers with the church of Jewish believers?

Post your answers and thoughts about this in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. I'm looking forward to our worship together later this morning; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.