God’s concern for the outsider

Scottish Bible Society logoThe Scottish Bible Society’s head of Bible engagement, Adrian Armstrong blogged in January about Epiphany (Matthew 2 v 1, 11) …

… when we remember the arrival of the Magi, Gentiles, outsiders, who came and bowed down to Jesus Christ.

The arrival of these Eastern travellers was a fulfilment of God’s promises.

To Abraham the great promise had been given that through his offspring all nations on earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:18).

The Psalmist speaks of a ruler to come, to whom all kings bow down and whom all nations serve (Psalm 72:11).

God spoke through the prophet Isaiah of a moment when, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Isaiah 60:3).

The arrival of the Magi is a moment of fulfilment: Jesus is Abraham’s offspring through whom all nations will be blessed, Jesus is the promised ruler before whom all kings will bow (just as the Magi did), and Jesus is the one who brings light to the nations and to the kings of earth.

Adrian wrote that “the Church has always recognised the arrival of the Magi as the coming of salvation to the Gentiles”. I

As we begin 2016, God’s concern for the outsider seems of particular relevance as we look back on a year dominated by the migrant crisis. In the midst of political and public consensus which seems to quickly shift from one position to the next, it is good to begin the year remembering God’s concern for every human life.

He reminded readers:

Each human bears the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and is precious to God. God sent Christ because of his love for the whole world (John 3:16). Churches and Christian organisations were, as ever, at the forefront of welcoming outsiders displaced by war and conflict, as the first new Syrian refugees began to arrive in Glasgow during November.

UBS On the road - A journey through the Bible for migrants front coverHe mentions a resource produced for United Bible Societies and available around the world. On the road … a journey through the Bible for migrants contains a series of readings from the Bible as well as the personal experience of people who have been displaced. The booklet can be downloaded [PDF] and hard copies can be ordered and purchased through the Scottish Bible Society website.

Adrian concludes:

May we, as God’s Church in Scotland, continue to fulfil God’s outward looking purposes and reflect God’s generous welcome to all those who feel like outsiders in 2016.

And may we pray with renewed fervour this Epiphany that many from this nation and around the world would this year discover Christ and bow before him, just as the Magi did, even as we look forward to the day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)

You can read the full blog post on the Scottish Bible Society website.