Throughout His ministry, Jesus continued to share His father’s message of redemption for all people, inviting into the Kingdom those who had not been invited before. He welcomed and used those who were different. He commended their natural abilities, sending fishermen out to fish for people. It didn’t matter where the disciples came from, it matter that they were created to be part of the Kingdom.
Jesus said, “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last” (Luke 13:29–30).
One of my favorite feelings in large Christian gatherings is the ability to stand among so many people that I don’t know, and imagine where they might come from, and what their lives might look like. It doesn’t matter where we come from: we have all suffered, we have all been broken, and we all need a Savior. I love worshiping with many others; perhaps because it makes my brokenness less evident to me than if I was all by myself in the presence of my Lord. At the same time, I sense a powerful strength, the strength of the Body of Christ, ready to be used by God in its many diverse ways through the gifts of its people.
John the disciple explains this same feeling in a vision of the future:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
John is observing a beautiful picture of the Great Commission fulfilled: the family created in Genesis is now redeemed. Even in heaven some of the differences that make us unique remain, for this multitude is still full of worshipers from different nations, tribes, peoples, and languages. But they are united now by a common purpose: to bring glory to God, a glory that transcends all differences.
As the Body of Christ on this earth, we must make every effort to reflect this beautiful picture of Heaven in our church. And as we stand together before God’s presence we must declare in a loud voice “Salvation belongs to our God.”
Questions for reflection and discussion: What would the Body of Christ be like if everyone in it was just like you? How are we stronger by being united in diversity? How does this diversity reflect and glorify Christ?
This week's devotions were written by Saul Flores. Saul is the Puente del Pueblo High School Program Coordinator. Saul and his wife, Abby, did missionary work in Mexico for many years before moving to the Chicago area.