Lineage – Tracing the line from Ruth to Jesus.
To believe or not to believe, that is the question!
The story of Ruth seems far removed from both our own culture and our expectations about life. It is interesting, to be sure, but relevant, well …
It might seem that Ruth is the focal point of the story we have been reading, or is it Naomi, or Boaz perhaps, or the future King David?
No, it is none of these! The Bible is the story of God; He is the focal point of it all. It seems to me to be pointless to say I know about Ruth unless I can also say that I know the God who orders and governs Ruth’s life and history. The story is about God preparing the way for a Saviour who will fulfil the promises made to Abraham and then David. Ruth comes at an interesting point in the tale; she is an illustration of God’s careful love in preparing a Kingdom for David, and then ultimately for His own Son, Jesus.
So yes, I do believe the story with its historical data, but I am also aware of the significance of this small detail in the majestic story of God’s redemptive purposes for the world He made and the people He loves.
v 1. On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.
There is something special about being together as the family of God. Many of us have missed that kind of opportunity during the time of lockdown we experienced because of CoVid. It was all very well and good sitting in front of a computer screen and watching, or even sharing a little as we Zoomed and had coffee – or just watched others having coffee! It was not the same was it. Better than nothing I guess, but not a patch on face-to-face fellowship and the hugs that ensued.
Being a Christian is not just an intellectual or personal faith experience; our faith has a social, ‘togetherness’ function. To miss out on that is to lose a valuable dimension of the faith experience. That is not to say we must always go on ‘doing Church’ in the same old way. In times of persecution believers have found ways to be together – often in small groups in secret – but their determination to experience togetherness for prayer, learning and mutual encouragement has been inspirational.
In Acts 1 we see the disciples meeting in secret in an upper room, but here we encounter them going public. It was a major step forward in terms of showing the world what it meant to follow Jesus together. It was in this act of demonstrating their faith in public that the Holy Spirit came with power and conviction to transform lives. Many of us will identify with this; it was in some form of Christian gathering that we were challenged to follow Jesus and felt His touch on our lives.
No wonder the writer of the Letter to Hebrews is straight up about this in chapter 10:25 where we find ’ let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.‘
How big a ‘must’ is Christian fellowship for you?