Scripture: Acts 23:23-35
Key verse: (27) “This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them, but when I had learned that he was a Roman citizen, I came with the guard and rescued him.”
Reflection: Have you ever seen the older TV show undercover boss, where a CEO goes in disguise and works alongside the employees of their company? There is a lot that is interesting about the show, but the premise itself tells me a lot about humanity … that somehow we aren’t able to be completely open or honest with certain people in positions of power, and that certain special treatment is given to particular people.
This reality of power and special treatment, however, isn’t new. In fact, we see it in our passage for today as Paul was imprisoned and ready to be killed … until it is discovered that he is a Roman citizen. From that point on the tone changes, as resources and manpower are poured in to Paul’s safety, travel, lodging, and eventual trial. What would have happened to Paul if he wasn’t a citizen? Would we be reading about him right now, or would he have been a nameless refugee disposed of by the Roman empire?
The hard truth of our human nature is that we play favorites. Do you ever catch yourself treating others differently because of their place in power, either positively or negatively? Do you ever find yourself expecting to be treated differently for your perceived place of power? There is another way, however, a Christ-like way. May we pause, and look to Christ’s example, who welcomed the outcast, ate with the poor, healed the sick, and exalted the marginalized. Jesus, the Son of God, did not see his position of power as one of deserving special treatment, but instead he saw his identity as one of service. May we follow in Christ’s way, looking to love and serve all no matter who they are in the eyes of the world, for we are all worthy of love in the eyes of God.
Prayer: Loving God, open our eyes to see as you see, to love as you love. By your Spirit place within us a loving humility, that we may follow in your way. Through Christ we pray, who leads us in love. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].