Picture this scene:
“As he was walking along the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter), and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. “Follow me,” he told them, “and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:18-20
In that moment was the genesis of a community of believers. As Christ called more disciples, one after another, from different walks of life, and socioeconomic statuses, He was forming an unconventional group with one huge thing in common: Jesus chose them.
Now, it was one thing for Jesus to call Jewish fishermen, but what about when He called Matthew, the tax collector in Matthew 9:9? Can you imagine that scene? Peter, Andrew, James, and John most likely viewed Matthew as a traitor because of his profession and now Jesus was choosing him to be a part of their community!
What about Simon? He was a zealot, better known as a political extremist in his day!
Let’s not forget Judas Iscariot. It wasn’t lost on Jesus who Judas was, yet it’s implied in John 12 that Jesus made Judas essentially the treasurer of the group.
Why did Jesus hand pick twelve such different people to be the ones He would spend most of His time with? To be not only His disciples but His community?
Merriam-Webster plainly defines community as a unified body of individuals, yet there could not have been a more eccentric group than the disciples.
Could it be that Jesus was putting godly community on display?
Could it be that He was forming and living out the template for how godly community should look?
Think about the early church.
Acts 2:44 reads, “All who believed were together and had all things in common.” One could take this verse at face value and think having all things in common meant they were all the same. It’s quite the contrary! The early church was made up of very different people: Jews, devout men, from every nation under Heaven. What they all had in common was their belief in Jesus as Lord. They decided to sell their possessions and share all they had with each other. It goes on to say, “continuing daily with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart…”
What is it that unifies us? You may roll your eyes and think, “well that’s a little elementary. Jesus!”
But I really want you to think about this.
I dare you to marinade on a more difficult, internal question: what is it that draws us to the exclusion of others?
Truth be told, if Jesus was our most important unifying factor, wouldn’t our communities resemble the group of 12 He chose?
What matters to you in your community?
Is it similarity in locality, demographics? What about doctrine?
What about socioeconomic status? Upbringing?
Where do you lean when it comes to different ethnicities?
If you were to put all of your friends in one room, would everyone essentially be the same? Would they all look the same?
This is what I urge you to think about today.
Challenge: Think about your community. Have a time of self-examination. Is your community diverse? If not, how can you be more intentional in working towards diversity?
Will you pray with me?
Jesus, thank you for exemplifying diversity in community. Only You could take such an unlikely mélange of people and make them family. Thank you for kindly showing us the way in which to build our own communities. Search us and know our hearts; test us and know our concerns. See if there is any offensive way in us and lead us in the everlasting way. I pray all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.