Our world is changing so rapidly that it is hard to know where to set our anchors to find truth, meaning and purpose. We yearn for seasoned experience and authentic truths to help us set our compasses for life’s challenges and opportunities.
ANCHORS IN A PEOPLE AND THEIR HISTORY
When we choose to receive God’s grace through His Son, Jesus Christ, He anchors us to an ancient history of God’s chosen people, Israel. Their history reaches back more than 3,500 years to the times of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and beyond. Their sacred texts record God’s interactions with them. At the same time, those same texts point forward to a Savior, a cross and beyond.
The apostle Paul pointed to their rich heritage (Romans 9:1-5). He also spoke to the desperate circumstances of those who did not share their history (Ephesians 2:11-12). The contrast between these two peoples–Jews versus non-Jews–created a barrier between them. Many have attempted to eliminate this barrier by genocide of the Jewish people over the years. They have all failed.
ANCHORS IN THE CROSS
Only one effort to remove this barrier between peoples has been successful. The apostle Paul makes this point clear in Ephesians 2:11-22. It is the cross of Christ that has removed this barrier between the chosen people of God and the rest of the world.
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
Ephesians 2:14 (NLV)
The result is a new definition of God’s chosen people so that all who respond to the gospel message now share in a history and a heritage.
19 So now you Gentiles [non-Jews] are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. 20 Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.21 We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord. 22 Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19-22 (NLV)
Now the anchors of the Jewish people pointed towards the anchor for everyone found in the cross of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. This truth is bearing fruit as non-Jews realize their rich heritage in the God of ancient Israel. Conversely, this truth is also being realized as more and more of today’s Jewish people see the fulfillment of prophecies in their Messiah, Jesus Christ.
I believe that Luke, a non-Jew, is writing to a primary audience of non-Jews. He strove to connect the dots between the Jewish Scriptures and the cross and the early church. While he could have glossed over them, he preserved these references to their ancient prophets, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Samuel in Peter’s sermon (Acts 3:12-26). He preserved them for our instruction and affirmation as the new Israel that shares in the heritage and history of God’s chosen people from their very beginning.