This meme keeps popping up all over my social media, time and again: “2000 years ago, Jesus Christ ended all debate on which lives matter, He died for all.” Even in death, Christ exemplifies unity.
I came across the following excerpt in a book: “A newborn wildebeest calf was having difficulty getting to its feet. Sensing a favorable opportunity, a hyena approached. Immediately a number of adults formed a broad front, protecting the calf still thrashing on the ground. Wildebeest beside wildebeest presented a formidable row of sharp horns, and the hyena skulked away. Almost immediately afterward a lioness attempted to approach the newborn. Normally the big cat’s appearance would have resulted in the herd galloping off in wild flight. Instead they closed ranks, once again forming a menacing vanguard. This courageous defiance impressed the lioness, and she didn’t attack the horned front line but slunk off to safer ground. By that time the calf had gained its feet and was able to run with the herd.”1
Even in death, Christ exemplifies unity.
Imagine this scenario in our church: a new convert, a troubled member, a struggling addict. How can the church stand firm and together to help this individual against the hyenas and the lions of this world?
In Acts 15, Luke beautifully describes discord and unity experienced in the early church. The chapter deals with the conflict of circumcision and preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. Here are a few points that stand out to me:
1. They came together to consider the matter at hand. Discussion is the first step in resolving conflicts. There might be a lot of disputing, anger, and hurt; nonetheless, in the end, a resolution occurs.
2. They overcame the dispute under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Peter proclaims in Acts 15:7–11 that God gave both the Jews and the Gentiles a choice and made no difference in bestowing the Holy Spirit to them.
3. They proclaimed God’s signs, wonders, and miracles in the past. They revisited the scriptures and promises, which resulted in spreading the gospel far and wide with renewed strength. Time and time again, it has been proven that the Scriptures always strengthen us, whatever the circumstances. The strength of unity has been manifested from Creation all the way to Christ’s death on Calvary through the persistence of the disciples and spreading of the gospel.
In this week’s lesson, we are going to explore how the church today stands as a visible witness to the saving work and power of Christ. Let us contemplate being in one accord and of one mind as we continue with our study.