Thursday of Pentecost 2 – Galatians 3:23-4:7 

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

 1 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

One day Jesus was approaching the little village of Nain, it is a tiny place. As he drew near the village a procession of people came out, bearing the body of a young man. The deceased had been the only son of a widow. You can read about this story in Luke 7. Jesus looked at the grieving mother and he had compassion on her and raised her son for her. We like to think that He saw her sorrow, which He surely did, but Jesus also saw the reality of her world. Being a widow in the ancient world was tough. There were no pensions or social security programs, no survivor benefits or even food stamps. She was utterly dependent on her family. In a conservative village in Galilee if her husband had owned any property, she could not inherit it. It had to be held by a male relative, and now her son was dead. She was at the mercy of her husband’s family who probably saw her as a liability and may have seen the death of her male relatives as a curse upon her. Jesus has compassion on her in her miserable situation.

This was what it was like to be a woman in the first century. It was not an easy thing. Did you hear what Paul says in vs 28? Before God there is neither male nor female. Yes, there are men and women, but God’s love is not differentiated. He does not have two categories of heirs. He does not make a distinction in his love for Jews or gentiles, men or women, slave or free.

This does not mean that gender, status, and race disappear, so we are rendered into some homogenized uniformity, faceless and identical. It is a statement about God’s love. In fact, He delights in our uniqueness, diversity, and differences. But He loves us all the same. The earliest churches of Christianity were filled with slaves and women. In a world which only saw their inferior status, Paul’s words of equality before God resonated in their aching hearts. Know and believe this today. God’s love for you is never based on the color of your skin, your gender, your past, or your present status. God’s love for you is always based in the objective truth that Jesus died for you. Nothing you are or have done can ever change that fact.

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