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Tim Tebow and a dry tree (1)

Did you see Tim Tebow’s two commercials during the Super Bowl?  All of the people who were objecting to them ended up with egg on their face.  What’s to protest about a mother expressing love and concern for her son? 

But then again, it’s not hard to understand why pro-abortion and pro-life forces were gritting their teeth in anticipation of a hard-hitting commercial.  Too many times, family has been the battleground for believers and unbelievers.  Too many times family has been about holding ground and defending turf.  Too many times the result has been that more heat than light is generated. 

What if it was different?  What if family was something used to advance the kingdom of Jesus rather than draw battle lines?  I believe this could happen.  But I also believe that to do this means that many have to change how they think of family. 

The place to begin is to recognize that family is not primarily genetic and biological; it is faith-based and spiritual.  This is a theme in Luke’s gospel (8:19-21, 9:59-62, 12:51-53, 14:25-26), and it sets the stage for what we see in Acts, namely that God desires to bring all people together through Jesus Christ.  When we think of family we must think of something more than mom, dad, and the kids.  Family includes single, divorced, widowed, married, separated, or childless.  It is all inclusive (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).  This is the family that Jesus (primarily) promoted and it should be the family that we promote. 

Luke’s record of the Ethiopian eunuch coming to Christ (Acts 8:26ff), is a rather poignant example of this.  Under Jewish law eunuchs were excluded from the assembly (Deuteronomy 23:1ff).  Whatever else that entailed, it’s clear their physical impairment meant a lower position and status than the rest of Israel.  They felt the sting of exclusion. 

Luke would have us to see the eunuch’s baptism as another instance of the ever expanding circle of people coming into the kingdom of God (see Acts 1:8).  In the first part of chapter eight, it was the Samaritans who believed and were baptized (8:12).  The Samaritans were neither exclusively Jews nor Gentiles, they were some of each.  The Jews considered them worse than Gentiles because they had mixed their one-time pure Jewish blood with that of the Gentiles.  But God had a place for them in His kingdom and Luke shows us that in they came.

The story of the eunuch continues along the same general theme of inclusiveness, but from a slightly different approach.  Here was a man who was a eunuch.  He had gone to Jerusalem to worship but it was in the desert that he would experience God ultimately.  Perhaps while in the city he obtained the scroll of Isaiah from which he read while traveling back to Ethiopia. 
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