Archive for February 4th, 2008
When we say “everyone,” we seldom mean every single person on the face of the planet. We have our “filters” based on where we say the term “everyone.” We usually mean “everyone in our group” or “everyone who is like us” or “everyone we know” or “everyone we like” or “everyone we find acceptable.”
We know the biggest problem the religious power brokers of Jesus day had with Jesus is that when He said “everyone,” he meant everyone. Jesus’ “everyone” included tax collectors, sinners, gentiles and other undesirables to the high and holy religious establishment didn’t want in their circle of association. For sure Jesus wanted all of these “everyones” to turn their hearts to God and live for the Kingdom with focused devotion, but if a person made that full turn to live for God heart, soul, mind and strength – what we call repentance in church land – they were welcome. And when Jesus went to extend and invitation for people to join, he offered that invitation to the real everyone! Just read the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and make a list of “everyone” with whom he spent time.
So when the Holy Spirit brings ignition to the movement of Jesus on the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2, our Bible reading for today), the Spirit-inspired language of the day proclaims that the gift of forgiveness and new life is available to “everyone” who will respond to the call of the Lord.
//Inspiration: Acts 2:39
The promise is for you and your children and for all who are for off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.
This promise, of the forgiveness of sins and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is for all – “everyone”! This point was made earlier in Acts 2:16-21 where you find words like “all people,” “sons,” “daughters,” “young men,” “old men,” “my servants both men and women,” and “everyone.” The ramifications of “everyone” is indicated by list of Jews and proselytes from many different nations in Acts 2:5-11.
But even the apostles and these early followers of Jesus didn’t get it completely. They assumed that the “everyone” God intended were those close to them. It will take a lot of work to get them to see that when God says “everyone,” he means “every single one” who responds to His call.
So the question I need to ask, and I want to challenge you to ask, is pretty simple: How have we made our “everyone” list smaller than than God’s “every single one” list? For me, this is more than just theory, with the Compassion trip to Uganda coming up, children of all peoples are on my heart. Have I limited my “everyone” to simply be the ones I know … the ones I can imagine … the ones within easy reach … the ones like me … the ones I don’t have to risk anything to touch? Or is my “everyone” the same as God’s “every single one”?
O God, give me eyes to see people the way you do and help me not to limit the scope of your grace to any one group. I want all people, of all nations, to have a change to hear You call them to Your grace in Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.