In this week’s message, Paul runs into some people who are so committed to themselves that they can’t accept what God is doing among the Gentiles. (Acts 21:17 – 22:22) Paul has just arrived in Jerusalem after his third Missionary Journey and he wants so badly to share with the Jews what God has done in the Gentile world. At first they rejoice, but suddenly things get tense: these Gentile Christians are told, “You’re not true Christians because you’re not us!” They’re about to throw a tantrum! So, in order to avert an uprising, the elders (vv. 23-26) opt for compromise. And Paul goes along with it.
The problem here is that these Jews were zealous, not for a good cause, but, as it turns out, for themselves–their ownership of God. How often do we do the same thing by trying to dictate who can and cannot worship with us, or belong to the same church or sit at the same table. Do we think we’re better than, or more developed than, or more worthy than?
Here’s the thing: we’re all under the same curse without Jesus and, no matter what we think, God is not our God, He is just God. He does not belong to us, we belong to him! That’s what the Jews did not get and God was going to mess them up. When it comes to God, we can either get on His team or forget about it.
The question is not whether God is on our side, it’s are we on His side?