This week’s Melvee Sabbath School lesson is hosted by Elder Bruce Mutaurwa and he is joined by Loago Setswalo and Simdumise Poswa (both from Purelight Missions Ministry, www.purelightmissions.org). They discuss the lesson theme on how the gospel transcends culture, ethnicity, tribal lines and national identities. God promised that “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles.” (Matthew 12:18). The discussion focuses on how Jesus spent so much of His earlier years in Galilee, known as “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Matt. 4:15). This region was so named because of the non-Jewish influence in the province. In this region, in Nazareth, Jesus spent the majority of His years before starting His public ministry. Due to its position, Nazareth was near major routes travelled by Roman army units, as well as merchant caravans. As a result, Jesus must have been in contact with non-Jews His whole early life (not to mention the time in Egypt).
After His rejection in Nazareth (see Luke 4:16-31), Jesus centred His ministry in the cosmopolitan Galilean city of Capernaum. Contacts with Gentiles and their world significantly impacted His ministry and teaching. Even though He focused on Israel, the wider world was His concern. During the more than three years of His ministry between His baptism and ascension, on at least six occasions Jesus had direct contact with persons from Gentile nations.
The MelVee panelists carefully recollect these gospel encounters and accounts and draws lessons for us, upon whom the ends of this worldthat has become a global village of intermixed nations in which exclusivity is scoffed at and it becomes an impossibility to maintain.