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Click here to read Exodus 12 on BibleGateway.com

dogsOne of the difficulties of living the Christian life is that often people outside the Christian family have a partial understanding of what the Bible says, and then they judge the whole Bible (and Christ) from that fragment of knowledge.

Passerby: So I hear one of Jesus’ disciples hung himself.
PewPotato: Yep.
Passerby: So the bible teaches that all Christian should kill themselves?
PewPotato: Of course no…
Passerby: I knew it. Just a cult.  You’re crazy.  When’s your Suicide Day?
PewPotato: Umm…

One of our primary responsibilities as ambassadors of Christ is to hopefully present a more complete picture of His Word. Exodus 12 highlights one of these often misunderstood principles.

The bible is often seen as racist to many (both within and without of the Church) with a passing acquaintance with it. They point to the genocide’s of Joshua and Judges, and to the emphasis on the Jewish people over the Gentiles, particularly in the Old Testament. There are several places wherein Jews are forbidden to marry those outside the nation, and even some executions for breaking these commands. Hence, some have come to the conclusion that the Bible is against minorities and particularly against Gentiles of any stripe.

THE REST OF THE STORY

However, this is a fairly simplistic view and misses the point of these measures in the ancient world. The emphasis of these regulations is not racial purity, but rather religious holiness. Consistently throughout the Bible, if a foreigner was willing to follow God’s direction, they were welcomed into God’s family, either Judaism in the Old Testament or the church family in the New. For example, see the stories of Ruth and Rahab, both of whom were not only foreigners, but despised for their national religious apostasy. Yet both were accepted into the Jewish community,and ultimately were ancestors of Jesus, showing not only God’s acceptance but his glorification of foreigners.

Today’s passage deals with the event and celebration of Passover. This is the quintessential Jewish holiday, wherein God officially “created” the Israelite nation. There are several regulations and limitations about who can participate, both in this chapter and through the rest of the Old Testament.

Yet look at verse 49: “The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.” Yes, foreigners were restricted from observing the Passover, but if they were willing to submit to God’s requirements for the Jews (in this case, circumcision , they were welcomed into God’s family. The restrictions had nothing to do with race or ethnicity, and everything to do with spirituality.

WE ALL WEAR WHITE ROBES IN THE END

Racism has no place in God’s Kingdom; even nationalism should be held very lightly in a Christian’s life. We are citizens of God’s Kingdom, not of any particular country. It seems that we sometimes confuse our patriotism (or political party affiliation) for religious zeal, and they are not synonymous  Throughout the Bible, God repeatedly stresses that in his kingdom (and hence the Church), there is no hierarchy of race or nationality. We need to be careful that we apply the same love and acceptance “both to the native-born and to the foreigner.”

Anything else comes from our desire to put ourselves above our fellow sinners, and that kind of pride should make all of us tremble before the True King.

 

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